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Live! My Friend Jeff's Root Canal

It had to come to this. Jeff Gates, who way back in 2000 won some sort of place in the history books by becoming the first person to auction off his demographic information on eBay, is today twittering his root canal. Which means that he is narrating the procedure for anyone who might care to tune in.

I am going to go out on a limb here and declare that Jeff is the first person to do this.

I will not argue that this was a scintillating bit of....what? journalism? memoir? voyeurism? art?

"In chair, waiting for endodontist"

"Numbing is next"

"Numbing in progress. Just handed a list of DVDs available to watch during RT. Picked HBOs Entourage"

I'm not exactly riveted--and I at least know the guy.

I asked Jeff to explain himself:

"Last week when I was at my endodontist for an evaluation I tweeted that I
was there and suddenly an endodontist from Canada started following me on
the site," Jeff says. "He announced to his twitter social circle that I'd be doing this
live today and more geeky dentists and endodontists started following my
tweets. My doc was a great sport about it."

The play-by-play continued:

"Hot tooth. 5 numbings. 4 roots instead of 3. Now filled and xrayed"

"A little suction"

I asked Jeff why he did this:

"I saw the potential for forming an immediate 'smart mob,'" he writes--under the influence of a hefty dose of ibuprofen, I should add. When Jeff heard from a whole bunch of dentists who planned to follow his adventure, he knew he was onto something. "So, while I'm in the middle of the procedure another endontist from Kansas City is quering me on the procedure --asking me what type of numbing stuff I was getting (a combo, my doc said, based on the pH of the various drugs and just where in the jaw and the size it was --more info than I would have ever gotten or have thought to ask). We were having a dialogue in the middle of this!"

Not the most exciting dialogue in the annals of communication, or even probably in the annals of dentistry, but still. Something new. And now. Which is kind of what these things are all about these days.

"Done," Jeff wrote a little while ago.

"Post game analysis: There was a crack in the distal (back of the tooth). That's why the tooth was so sensitive and I needed so much numbing."

This is way more than I needed to know. But now you know it too. Somewhere in there, there's some sort of meaning. Maybe one of you can write a dissertation on it.

By Marc Fisher |  May 1, 2008; 5:03 PM ET
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