Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Office Manager
257 North Plainfield Road
W. Lebanon, NH 03784

Dear Aspen Dental:
I’m writing as a former (and please note the emphasis on former) customer.
Yesterday, 09/17/2019, I went to your West Lebanon, NH office looking to have my broken dentures repaired. I had no appointment, but you've always offered "Emergency" and "Walk-Ins Welcome" as part of your services. In fact, you broadcast it in foot-high letters on your office windows.
Truth in advertising. Uh-huh.
It all goes to hell from there:
I traveled to your office (a 50-mile round trip for me) because no one would answer the phone when I called at 8:45 a.m.  You advertise your office hours as 8am to 6pm, but apparently not for humans who answer phones. I got a recorded message, asking me to call back "during office hours." Right.
See the first problem?
Your office hours are 8am to 6pm.
I called at 8:45am. No sign of a live human.
I still left a message requesting that someone at AD please return my call asap, though I knew it to be futile. Sure enough, hours later at home, no one had, so I reluctantly drove the 25 miles to your office. And, as of today, incidentally, still no return call or acknowledgement of mine.
I arrived to find an overflowing parking lot, not a space to be had, so I parked two business lots away and walked back to the office, difficult for me because of reasons I will cite below.
And, in the waiting room, not one available chair.
Your receptionist, after I explained my problem, said "Well, there's no way we can help you on 'oral surgery' day," and was rather glib about it. (Never ceases to amaze me why people who aren't good with people choose to work in the people business. She needs to find a widget assembly line job somewhere and avoid any contact with the public).
Yes, apparently, you schedule all your oral surgeries for the same day, according to her, so tough luck. I told her that I'd TRIED to call first, and again, she blew this off and restated how everyone there (as I could see) was too busy to answer the phones on oral surgery day. How dumb of me. Why wouldn’t I know that.
I’ve watched this evolve over the long time I’ve been a customer of yours. You’re overbooked. Understaffed. Overcrowded, inside and out. And, your communications (phone) have become non-existent. This is so typical of businesses that grow faster than they can accommodate the needs of their customers. You move into strict profiteering at the expense of all else.
Customer “service” unravels, and people become names & numbers on paper.
Before I left, your flip receptionist did make an appointment for me for today at 9 a.m.  So, I left.
I arrived today, 09/18/2019, at 8:20 a.m., checked in, same receptionist. She took my teeth and disappeared, returning a minute later to inform me that it would 3 hours before they could be repaired, and told me what my bill would be (apparently the only thing you can do in a timely manner is figure what I owe you before you’ve done anything.)
Right about here, you need to know the following:
I have Stage Four cancer in my lung, liver and brain. I am being treated with chemo and radiation. It’s difficult for me to sit anywhere for very long because of the revolving pains I have and the medications I’m taking.
I called my wife there in the waiting room and told her that I’d had enough of Aspen Dental nonsense. I told her that I was going to ask for my teeth back and get the hell out of there.
Your receptionist (who has the personality of a bottle of hand sanitizer) overheard this, and said “I’ll see if he can do them sooner,” again disappeared, and returned abruptly with my unrepaired dentures. “Here they are,” she said, putting them on the desk and turning away from me. And that was that.
And, for me, that was it. Let’s just say I took that opportunity to loudly tell her and your rapidly filling-up waiting room (yes, I made a bit of a scene) just what I thought of Aspen Dental, its (lack) of customer service, and its overall decline and  depersonalizations, again so typical of businesses that plan and act poorly.
Oh … and just for seriocomic relief … whoever was back out of sight in the lab had dipped my dentures in a bitter solution that caused a wave of nausea when I left the office and put the partial-partial back in my mouth. I was not informed of this. Was that his idea of a JOKE? Did he and your snippy receptionist put their pinheads together and decide to prank this disgruntled (and vocal) customer?? I am still tasting the effects of it.
Clearly, to me, it was done deliberately, as was not informing me of what your techie had done. I can’t prove it, but I believe it was malicious.
Finally, I will now take the opportunity to report all of this --- on social media, my website, and wherever I can influence anyone looking for dental services. I have been in the healthcare business for over 35 years.
In my opinion, you’ve become corrupted beyond repair. All mouth and no open.
Shame on you.

P.S. Your CEO’s statement: “We’re big advocates for the patient” is outright amusing. And, I’ve been reading the thousands of lodged complaints and lawsuits against Aspen Dental online.  Stunning that you’re still in business.
Aspen Dental Management, Inc.
13, Ocala Ave
Jacksonville, Florida 32220

Thursday, July 4, 2019


Today is not about the megalomania of Donald Trump.

It's about my great-great-great-great Grandfather Reuben and his Grandfather Samuel.

Samuel Sherman lived on a farm in Lisbon, New Hampshire, and served as a private in Captain Caleb Whitings Company during the American Revolution. He marched on the alarm of 19 Apr 1775 to Roxbury.

At that time the country was a wilderness. Bears and other wild animals undisputedly held the territory.

There was a great scarcity of provisions among the settlers. Samuel’s grandson Reuben, then a lad of sixteen, traveled to Barnet, VT through the wilderness, and procured three pecks of flour, without the sign of a road or anything to guide him.

When he arrived almost in sight of home, his dog met him and barked vigorously at some object in a tall pine, which he discovered to be a bear. Crying lustily, he was heard by his mother, and ordered their family musket, which was without a lock, with ammunition and a firebrand.

The boy held the gun while his brother touched it off with the firebrand and killed the bear. The body lodged in a fork of the tree, which obliged them to cut it down. The meat furnished by the bear was a Godsend, and saved the family, with the flour which the boy had carried ten miles on his shoulder, from starvation. 

Happy Fourth of July, America.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Governor “Crazy Chris” Sununu
State House
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301

Dear Crazy:

I know you won’t mind the disparaging nickname; this is a favorite vehicle of your hero in the White house: insulting and belittling anyone who won’t get in his lying locksteps.

Similarly, I’m sure you’ll appreciate my rendering of your image (I did the same for Trump). When your interior actions are ugly, distorted and deceitful, your exterior should reflect that.)

But, I’m writing re: Your recent comments during a Fox interview:

Shame on you.

It’s never a surprise to me when members of your Party favor the interests of the privileged and powerful versus “the little guy” (usually with a degree of meanness that beggars explanation), so the apparent glee you expressed when you told your Fox “interviewer” that you “couldn’t wait” to veto the Paid Family Leave bill … well … that’s par for the course. Mean. Gutless.

Lest you forget (because Me The People won’t): when running for governor, you were asked in a debate if you supported paid family leave, you said “Absolutely.” Liar. (Yes, yes, yes, I’m sure we took your “absolutely” out of context. Bullpuckey. You lied.)

You supported Trump’s pulling us out of Paris Climate Accord. You refused to join other governors in the bipartisan US Climate Alliance. You have visited the Trump White House more than any other governor. Political toady.

And, speaking of guts, I also take great exception to your comment that Donald Trump will win in New Hampshire because he appeals to the voters here “on a gut level.”

Wrong-headed, asinine, and you certainly don’t speak for me.

Yes, I do indeed have a visceral reaction to the criminal who currently occupies our White House, but it’s on a level that reeks of revulsion. As a native Granite Stater, I’m ashamed, embarrassed, and disgusted that you occupy our State House.

It’s stunning to me that anyone who can think critically, or who can think at all, for that matter, supports this lying, despicable wretch we have as a president. This is the most puzzling: clearly you’re not “crazy,” but your actions are. In the end, I don’t make the distinction. Crazy is as crazy does.

As a man, a father, a husband? Do you have no moral compass? No sense of what’s decent, fair and just?

-- As a man, apparently, it’s okay with you to mock the disabled, ridicule the parents of a fallen soldier, dishonor a true American hero’s (John McCain) sacrifice and suffering for his country? You admire a man who said that his struggle to avoid getting a sexually transmitted disease was his "personal Vietnam"? Seriously? That’s beyond insulting. It’s the mark of an arrogant, sniveling coward.

-- As a father, apparently, it’s okay with you to support a degenerate who called his daughter “hot,” and said that if she wasn’t his daughter, he’d be dating her. That doesn’t bother you? Would you say (or even think) such a thing about your own child?

You’re not disturbed that children and babies are wrenched from their parents’ arms --- parents who are desperate for help and who come here hoping to protect those children from certain harm? What is WRONG with you? What are YOU made of?

--And, as a husband, apparently, you’d have no problem if I greeted your wife by grabbing her in the crotch? This is the example you set for your sons? Is that how you want them to grow up in this world? Objectifying and disrespecting and in fact assaulting women like that?

HOW can ANYONE support a Donald Trump without being of this same ilk? In my book, that makes you one sorry human being, and just plain creepy. And THAT, sir, is MY New Hampshire gut level.

Shame, shame, shame on you.

In the future, should you elect to seek reelection, I’ll be doing whatever I can to support your opponent and to see that you return to (a disgraced) civilian life.

Update: Yes, you’ve just announced that you’re running for governor again. Here we go!

And, just for some seriocomic aside, I especially liked how gave yourself a $22,000 pay raise the day after you took office. That’s 18% more than your female predecessor. A true Republican.

Even seriously funnier, you’ve claimed that you worked for eight years in California as “an environmental engineer.” Lie. You never earned a professional engineer’s license in any state. You had an EIT (engineer-in-training) certificate. You were a subordinate, supervised employee. Amazing how all you guys make things up.

Perhaps I should say, you don’t lie, it’s just how you take yourselves out of context.

B. Elwin Sherman
New Hampshire Native, Resident, Voter
Registered Independent
Honorably-Discharged Marine Veteran

UPDATE: 07/09/2019  Now comes news that at an auction/GOP fundraiser, you jokingly offered a copy of your Paid Family Leave bill veto to the highest bidder, adding that from now on you'll just "veto everything." Good work, Crazy Chris. You think that's funny? All it does it continue to show you up as elitist, ugly, and mean-spirited.

UPDATE: 07/22/2019 In the give-credit where it's due department, I see where you've done the right and true thing by signing SB142, the "period poverty bill," into law. Frankly, I'm shocked, given the fact that nearly every New Hampshire Republican voted against it, and nearly every Democrat for it. Even your words are stupefying.

This bill requires that all public schools provide free menstrual products -- tampons and pads -- to students at no cost.

And, you signed it.

And, you said this: “This legislation is about equality and dignity. SB 142 will help ensure young women in New Hampshire public schools will have the freedom to learn without disruption ― and free of shame, or fear of stigma.”

Almost unbelievable, given your misguided and baffling allegiance to our current misogynistic sexual predator-in-chief, and the fact that almost all your fellow GOP'ers held against it. WHY?  I don't trust your motives, and I'll never understand them. WHY? As I've noted in the above posts, you are all (typically) elitist, ugly, mean-spirited and just plain creepy. WHY?

But, in the end, I don't care. You did the right thing; you said the right thing, and a good thing happened for our young students. Congratulations, Crazy.

UPDATE: 08/10/2019  There you go again, Crazy Chris:

Veto: A bill that would require a 3-day waiting period before the purchase & delivery of a firearm.
Veto: A bill which closes the so-called gun show loophole and requires background checks for virtually all commercial firearms sales or transfers.
Veto: A bill that prohibits carrying a firearm on school property.

Again, we see who owns you and your Party cohorts (though I really want to mean conspirators).

Next time someone gets a gun who shouldn't have, next time someone shoots up a school, I will personally consider you an accessory to the murder, mayhem and madness that you seem hellbent to perpetuate. You say you want to protect our "individual freedom"?

You might start by protecting our lives.

UPDATE: 09/08/2019  "Sununu Vetoes Bill To Expand Absentee Voting."  Yep, there you go again, And, you are now the vetoing-est Governor in NH history.  You and your Party know that making voting easier and open insures that Democrats will win.  This is how YOU win: You cheat. Lie. Steal. Great parenting skills (of course, your support for the wretched POS in the White House tells us all we need to know about you as a father.) What a sorry legacy to leave: Cheater. Liar. Stealer. Crazy Chris. As a New Hampshirean, I apologize for you every day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


EVERYONE should have a pigeon head, Quaker Oats, compression stockings, a comfy chair and Harley-wear on their birthday, I always say. Thanks to all for your visits and support of the art(s)!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

POETRY BREAK -- "The Comparison Study"


How else could she say it with appropriate fuego?
Until their passions met,
she’d never loved and laughed so hard,
so soft, or felt so adored and amused.

But, yesterday he asked her:
"Do you love raisins as much as I do?"
That sent her into an existential tailspin,
wondering again if she could ever again
know another man’s love without comparing it
to what she’d put into
and taken out of her affairs with others.

She must allow it instead to float free,
without judgment.
The quiet and gentle, the passionate and sensual,
the tough and gnarly, the fun and exuberant.
That’s how she answered him.

But, today he hit her with another one:
“Is it hot in here, or is it me?” 

“It’s you,” she immediately replied,
sick of all his endless introspection,
and it wasn’t well-received.
Not the answer he’d wanted.
He’d wanted a flopsweat camaraderie.

She’ll now put it to her readers:
“Do you love raisins as much as I do?”
She can only hope you love poems
ending with grapes.

From "THE DIOECIANS -- His And Her Love". Copyright 2017 B. Elwin Sherman. Used here with permission. 

Monday, January 28, 2019


   Without researching it, I’ll bet that cancer in Colorado is no funnier than cancer in New Hampshire, but I can only speak for the Granite State and my lung tumor.

   Google reveals that no one living here has ever said: “as funny as cancer in New Hampshire.” That’s why I must say it now, living and writing as your native nurse humorist-tumorist.
    The ER doc unceremoniously said: “You have a mass on your lung.” With an inspired aplomb that only a New Englander would appreciate, I said: “I’m assuming you don’t mean Massachusetts.”
   Bang. Pow. Zoom. (I’m reserving exclamation points for the first finale of my second act, and that’s my first living with cancer in New Hampshire inside joke).
   When I heard my diagnosis, the words “Live Free or Die” shifted from the affairs of my state to my state of affairs, and immediately became my adopted up close and personal motto. I felt like a rock-tumbled Old Man of the Valley as an internal voice interrupted my shock: “Wait. Could you spare a minute for mortality?” Why, yes, I could but---
   Funny as cancer?
   My training and thirty-five-year career as a bedside care nurse taught me that humor is as essential to healing as not getting there is from here.
   I had cancer, so I did what only a New Hampshirite would do: started a wicked pissah cancer blog, made a Fluffernutter and washed it down with a frappe. Massachusettsans will claim the latter as theirs, but they do things like that.
   I then began searching my muse for the lighter side of what I knew would be hauling a heavy load down a long road.
   I’ve attended many patients with cancer, so I know the lie of its rugged landscape and many perils. But, when it’s MY trip as amateur pilot, not professional navigator? Funny as cancer? Here, in a state where freedom or death is a mandate?
   Yes. Especially here.
   First chore? Name my tumor. Men do this. We personalize our body parts and functions, errant and otherwise, and women will never understand it, beginning with the otherwise devoted wife lying next to me. She thinks it’s weird.
   I needed both radiation and chemotherapy, so I came up with “Rad Chemo.” Great moniker for a body-ambushing villain, and it kept with our New Hampshire tradition of seriously naming funny locales:
   My sympathies and apologies to the residents of Effingham, who undoubtedly live with a year-round tongue-in-cheek at the ready for any inquiring tourists. Effingham has always sounded to me like something expletively done to a ham.
   Or, when you think Kanca, is it suffixed with Mangus or Magus? Forever funny, and even we can’t decide.
   I was also inspired by other typically New Hampshire seriously funny things: Squirrel-proof birdfeeders (ha!), no-see-ums, wearing shorts with winter coats, and no-faultlessly driving unlicensed but self-designated road-legal snowmobiles, golf carts and riding mowers to the winter carnivals.
When I began my radiation, I found the spirit of our White Mountain State humor alive and free at Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital, when they snugged me up and into my treatment table mold with Rad Chemo. I felt like a human skewer hosting a hitchhiking saboteur kabob on a stationary spit as the linear accelerator rotated around us.
   The “Radionettes” (the techs I’d so-dubbed because they knew my musical likes and dark sense of humor), played “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” through the overhead speakers.
 No, you can’t, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what we need.

Illustration by Brad Fitzpatrick. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

This column is appearing in the February 2019 issue of New Hampshire Magazine.

Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author, humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS – His and Her Love“. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.