Gallstone #2

February 9, 1999

I just got a form-letter from the National Board of Dental Examiners. They dropped me a much-anticipated line to tell me I've passed the National Dental Board Exams, Parts One and Two. This means I'm cleared to take *another* board exam for licensure when I graduate in June. Pretty weighty stuff, I thought. I'm getting closer and closer to my goal of being a real live practicing dentist. Wheeeeeeee! Hooray for me.
A tiny line of type in the middle of the page states-
"The candidate has been awarded the Certificate of Completion of National Board Requirements"

And I thought, cool! A certificate of achievement in my career endeavors. Where, pray tell, was this certificate? I was getting anxious to see it.

I found it. It's the bottom third of the 8-1/2 X 11 form-letter.

No kidding. I spent many many hours preparing for these two tests. Each part of the exam was two full days of testing. The tests themselves cost several hundred dollars to take. I spent weeks with the uncertainty of my performance weighing on my already taxed mind. My thanks, my token of appreciation for jumping through these big ugly hoops, my honor for this achievement, is the same size and format as the return-stub on my credit card statements. I am truly humbled to be amongst those so honored. Being a dentist doesn't do much to impress your Average Joe, but apparently even fellow dentists are underwhelmed by my entry into their ranks.
Will I proudly frame and display this beautiful *certificate*? Oh, you bet your ass I will. Now that I see the significance that the Board has assigned their own licensing process (and by inference their own very existence), I can properly display it to the world. It's truly stunning. I'm so proud. The coffee-ring was my idea- you like it? It's definitely going up in my office. I just can't decide which color plastic-headed pushpin I should use.

In all fairness to the Board, I should mention that I can *buy* an 8x10 gold-embossed certificate for only THIRTY MORE DOLLARS. It's sort of like getting a letter inviting you to be in Who's Who, only to find out that it is a subscription service (you have to PAY to be listed). Instead of dropping thirty bones for the certificate I've already earned, I'm saving the money for a down payment on a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They, too, are for sale to people who've already earned them. When this mailing list grows to a certain size, I want my star.

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