The Charlotte News
Monday, January 10, 1938
Site Ed. Note: Ah yes, say you have a toothache, 'ey? Here, if you'll just hold this drill, while the nurse puts this loop of string around the offending incisor to hold it in place. That's right, yes. Now, you just sit there and we'll be back after while as there's a very good bet to be made in the fifth race downtown. Hey, say, you won't mind if the door is closed behind us, will you?
The rest of the page, and those of the next few days as well, are not yet here, as we don't yet have the whole pages, but they soon will be, in which event, we shall let you know.
There, now. See? Didn't hurt a bit. A little distraction does the trick. Dentistry's very easy. Picked it up watching the carnival passing through many years ago. Oh, wrong tooth, you say? Terrible thing. Well, just sit still, while we prepare another string for you.
The dentist, kindly soul, had a terrific sense of duty. "Uh-huh-h-h-h:" said he, and his eye began to glitter. Without taking his gaze off the offending tooth he reached for the excavating machine. We shut our eyes. There was no point in watching a man take any such grim pleasure. It might encourage him.
There was a preliminary shriek of metal on enamel, and sparks flew--a stream of fire spewed out. We were sure of that. Stars, too. Gr-r-r-uhr-r-r-r-r! The whirling drill dug in, red hot, slinging fire, grinding into the bone. Long since it had demolished the tooth. The flesh and the blood were all around. Strength remained, but the footboard and the chair arms were strong too, and they would not yield. The fire continued to fly and it was not hard to see, even with one's eyes shut, that the dentist was taking severe punishment. The fire should be scorching his face. How that man could stick to it was a marvel. It was consoling, thinking of his pain. The tooth might be gone and the jaw half off, but he was hurting too. Then a great quiet. And a great peace. Sight returned. The dentist's face wasn't burned at all. And our sympathetic tongue soon discovered that, like the Star Spangled Banner 'mid the rockets' red glare, our tooth was still there.
Not All Beer & Skittles*
The conversation at dozens of gatherings and in hundreds of homes yesterday was, we daresay, all about the 1936 salaries of corporation officers, many of them in this state and some of them in this very city. "Did you see where Mr. So-and-So gets a salary of 86,000 smackers a year?" "What do you think of old Henry Highhat drawing down $3,000 a month? Reckon he's worth it?"
The peek into the pay envelopes of these executives was made possible by the House Ways & Means Committee, which got the information from the Treasury. We don't see exactly what it proves or exactly why such salaries should become public knowledge. Stockholders and corporations have the unquestionable right to know, of course, and at any time may examine the books of corporations in which they are interested. But to disclose these salaries for the entertainment of the public generally comes pretty close, we believe, to a deliberate violation of the confidence supposed to govern the relations of a government with its taxpayers.
And taxpayers these high-salaried individuals are, with a vengeance. The biggest salary of all was that which General Motors paid to Alfred P. Sloan: $561,311. Mr. Robert Jackson already had held aloft this juicy bit of privy information and commented sarcastically upon it, not neglecting, however, to point out that after Mr. Sloan had finished paying income taxes to Uncle Sam and the Empire State, he had only a mere $183,000 left. In short, he got one-third of his salary, the tax-collectors two-thirds.
Note on a Phenomenon*
It was shocking information contained in that story in Sunday's News about divorces in this county. For every four marriages in 1937, there was one divorce. Every fourth time the Register of Deeds handed out a marriage license, the Clerk of the Court handed out a divorce certificate.
However, lest this be taken as an alarming sign of the deterioration of Mecklenburg morality and the disintegration of the basic unit of civilization, the family, we hasten to qualify the bare statistic. In the first place, some of these divorced persons, while legal residents of North Carolina, were really South Carolinians. In South Carolina there is no Indian giving in marriage. It's easy to hitch up in that state but forbidden to unhitch. As a result, the divorce business done by North Carolina counties along the border is misrepresentative of the felicity of their inhabitants.
And another consolation is the direct relationship between general enlightenment of the community and its divorce rate. We make no effort to explain it, but simply state the fact. Draw a line showing the wealth, health and public behavior of the various states, another showing the frequency of divorce to marriage, and the two, with due allowance for extremes like Nevada and South Carolina, will show an inseparability which ought to be, but isn't, a model for the couples along the way.
Croaking in Chorus
It seems to us that General Johnson in his column today is mistaking a general ill feeling among business men towards the administration for a reasoned opinion. He tells of speaking to a thousand furniture dealers, wholesalers and retailers, in Chicago, and of being bombarded with questions which showed almost unanimous low regard for the New Deal. From this he proceeds to give, sympathetically, the explanation of their mistrust.
But he would be less than perceptive if he did not make allowance for the perfectly human trait that small business men strive earnestly to model their attitudes and opinions after those of large business men. Large business men dislike the New Deal. And we'll take a bet in the dark that furniture trade organs, controlled from above, have been hammering diligently on the theme that Roosevelt is a menace, that Roosevelt's intentions toward business in general are sinister, that as the big shots are pulled down, the small shots will go with them. And we'll make another surmise that most of the small furniture dealers, if pressed to the point of candor, would express themselves something like this: "Sure, Roosevelt's done a lot of good, but look how he's gone wild!"
There are a great many acts and policies of the New Deal which we detest, and we reserve the right to condemn them. At the same time, it is primarily the business men who have gone wild in the intensity of their opposition to Roosevelt, and the big wild men have chanted their hymn of hate until they have the little wild men chanting it too, without knowing precisely why they have taken up the refrain. But they can sing as loud as the next one.
Most people would either not take it in or refuse to believe their ears if they heard that in the last year 1937, nineteen years after the Armistice, more American ex-soldiers of the World War were treated in Government hospitals than at any time since the war ended. It's a fact. Added to the patients receiving treatment at the end of 1936 were 141,537 new applicants for admission.
But if one assumed that it was all old war wounds and diseases troubling these ex-soldiers to the point where they had to have medical attention, he would be greatly mistaken. Not one in ten of the veterans who applied for treatment in Government hospitals last year could trace, or need bother to trace, his disability to his war service. Many of them, we daresay, were injured in automobile accidents. Others were suffering from decaying teeth, chronic alcoholism, appendicitis or any of a thousand and one ailments of middle age, which a grateful Government treated for them absolutely free of charge.
And it is perfectly dandy, we can see, for the veterans to get this medical care and hospitalization for nothing. Only, if it's a justifiable governmental service, why not extend it to the rest of the populace? These went to the defense of their country, it is true, but they came through that experience with whole skins and sounder constitutions. And, it was President Roosevelt who laid down the principle in his address to the American Legion convention of 1933 that "no person, because he wore a uniform, must thereafter be placed in a special class of beneficiaries over and above all other citizens."
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