Life With Ferris: The Dentist Is In

Monday, October 18, 2021 - by Ferris Robinson
Mountasaurus on Lookout Mountain
Mountasaurus on Lookout Mountain

You’ve probably seen it if you’ve come up the Ruby Falls side of Lookout Mountain in the past several months. And if not, you’ve probably heard tell of a prehistoric creature with impressive dental work that is lurking just behind the guardrail near Mountain Memories. Becky Sutter noticed it a while back, and thought how much part of the dead tree looked like a dinosaur. She pondered on this every time she drove down the mountain, and then one day she realized she wasn’t the only one with this vision!

All of a sudden, the creature was clearly a creature! Sporting huge googly eyes, the lower jaw that could have possibly been mistaken for a thick slab of bark no longer could be. There was clearly a mouth just below the eyes, and it was massive. So massive one didn’t have to imagine much at all to picture frightening pointed teeth in that gigantic mouth.

Gay Burns had considered this dead tree stump for right at a year, all during the pandemic, and she knew folks would get a kick out of the creature. Knowing everyone in the community could use a little levity, she set out to attach eyes where they clearly belonged. She planned to creep across the busy highway in the dead of night so she wouldn’t be seen. Her son Mac Newell, home for a visit, told her in no uncertain terms that this was not a good idea for a number of reasons, and to placate her, he did it himself.

So the next morning, all channels of social media were abuzz with the sighting, and folks had a very fun topic of conversation after a very long, unsettling year. There was only one problem with the not-so-threatening creature: it had no teeth! Not unlike the abominable snowman in “Rudolph,” a T-Rex was just plain sad without some dangerous-looking teeth. We do not know who the dinosaur’s dentist is, but we gotta say, that’s a very impressive mouthful of teeth!

After Gay Burns and her bunch managed to put a large googly eye on the dead tree near Mountain Memories, Dr. Philip Carson was perplexed. Fully aware that the creature was and always had been a dinosaur, he wondered if folks might mistake it for something else, say a swan with its long neck or an earthworm or some other ridiculous thing, like a turkey or a duck.

What this critter needed was a mouthful of teeth, and Dr. Carson, dentist extraordinaire and lover of all things fun, was just the man for the job. He gathered a few triangular-shaped reflectors that had fallen on the highway and took them to his dental rejuvenation workshop (aka garage) and set about re-cutting each reflector to a more suitable point. Really, if you’re going to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex and loom menacing over the highway where you threaten hundreds of jaded folks each hour, you’d better look the part. 

Philip bolted each sharp tooth to a stick for form the upper gum, and repeated it for the lower gum. Under the guise of darkness, he grabbed all manner of tools and headed down the mountain on his motorcycle. Near his destination, he somehow crept along the highway, climbed over the guardrail and drilled the soon-to-be-well-defined jaw of  the newly named Mountasaurus. What he hadn’t counted on was rotten wood. 

“The whole thing was rotted, completely porous,” Dr. Carson said. “It wouldn’t hold the screws.” 

But it takes a lot more than a major glitch to derail this dentist. Ever on the forefront of dental advances, he has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of continuing education since graduating dental school in 1984, including completing a mastership course in general dentistry at the University of Alabama and Periolase Laser training at the University of Colorado.

He thought about it for a minute, and realized he needed to brace the two dental bridges for support. 

His client was clearly well pleased, both with his dental work and the admiration received. The Lookout Mountain Neighborhood Page on Facebook blew up with comments, starting with Carlin McRae posting, “To whoever put the googly eye on the tree stump next to Scenic Highway - thank you, that made my morning!”

And after a long, anxious year, folks appreciated the chance for a sure laugh on their way to work. Surely not a driver goes by Mountasaurus who doesn’t grin at the surprising creature popping its head out of the woods.

“I saw it when it had one giant googly eye; now it has a mouth with teeth! Great way to make people smile!” Sarah Turnbull posted. Kristen Faith Logan said her kids love it and it makes their day every time they drive by, adding that she wanted to thank whoever was responsible for brightening the mood of so many during a very anxious year.

So to Gay Burns and Philip Carson, thanks for the smiles!

* * *

Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series. “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.


Dr. Philip Carson
Dr. Philip Carson

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