The Drunk at the Dentist Office

“Can I get a bottom of wine…”

A drunk had wandered into the dentist office in downtown Baltimore while we were waiting to have our teeth cleaned.

“I’m sorry, sir. You’re going to have to leave,” said the blond woman at the desk. “This is a dentist office. You come here to get your teeth worked on. This isn’t a liquor store.”

“Wha…? I’m s’posed to be here… I think…my mother sent me down here…”


“My mother…”

“Wait a minute,” said an older woman behind the desk. “That’s Henry. That’s Ms. Rogers son.”

The man was very drunk. His eyes were out of focus. He was about 40 years old…wearing what looked like a hunting jacket. Wobbling as he stood before the desk.

“Okay…” continued the blond woman. “Henry…we’re not going to work on your teeth if you’re drunk. You come back straight…and we’ll take you.

“Besides, your appointment is for tomorrow at 9:30…not today. You run along…and come back tomorrow at 9:30…and come back sober…okay?”

“Henry,” the older woman took up the conversation. “Do you have bus fare? How you gonna get home?”

“Bus fare…why? I’m not going anywhere…”

“Yes you are…” said the blond woman…and she escorted him to the door and pushed him outside.

Until next time,

Bill Bonner
for Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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6 Comments on "The Drunk at the Dentist Office"

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Biker Pete

I always enjoy reading Bill’s anecdotes, but wondered about its relevance early this morning when DR (the US version) arrived. I figure that my first conclusion (things-are-getting-bad-in-the-US) was probably just a little imprecise. Anyone help with this one…?!


Now I could be wrong, but I see the story as a metaphor describing the developing Chinese relationship with the USA. The US (Henry) being drunk on easy credit, fronting up (at the dentist) for service, only to be shown the door by the blond woman (China) while she points out that being drunk in public is inappropriate behaviour and will not be tolerated in the business environment she controls.

But who’s the older woman of this little drama?


I’m reading the metaphor as it relates to the US being “drunk” on borrowing and spending and believing that it can fix its economy before it “sobers” up.

Biker Pete

Interesting interpretations. I wondered if the 40 yo, now homeless, has moved back in with mom. He’s lost his car, too. He’s wearing a hunting jacket. Why? Is the metaphor a prediction of where we’re headed, fast…. a comment on housing, Detroit, cost of living… ? But I appreciate your interpretations, Gino and John. Both are highly appropriate… !

Greg Atkinson

Perhaps Bill has just gone a little Jean-Paul Sartre on us? This is what happens when you think too much.

Biker Pete
We may in fact be confusing mere anecdotes with parables. Bill often provides snapshots of his travel experiences and family life. This _may_ indeed be one, Greg. I’ve found his snippets about his daughter’s film career very interesting… and his life in rural France enviable (can’t wait to get re-immersed…). Likewise his Argentinan adventures, but it has been easy to interpret the two latter recount forms as comparisons to the US economic scene. The stress of writing a daily ‘reckoning’ may require some light anecdotal relief, as you say. I put out a weekly newsletter for over thirty years… and… Read more »
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