Dentist’s Lament: Is It Just Me or Is It Hot In Here?

hotOn Friday the 12th, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a ruling that allowed an Iowa Dentist, Dr. James Knight, to fire his assistant, Melissa Nelson. It was a unanimous decision that the good doctor did not discriminate and was within his rights to fire a ten year employee because she was too HOT! Okay, this doesn’t help our image, Iowa. As a lifelong, proud Iowan I had to comment on this one.

I will not comment on my opinion whether Mrs. Nelson actually is too hot or not. Whether someone is hot or not is entirely subjective. As I read the story I noticed Dr. Knight’s wife entered the fray. It seems she actually may have turned the screws on the old tooth puller. She felt that the much younger assistant was a threat to their marriage. Case closed.

C’mon people …we didn’t need the Iowa Supreme Court to help out with this! You don’t have to be a dentist to know that when the wife is threatened by a rival, somebody’s head is gonna roll. The dentist made a wise marital choice and decided to keep his head; the assistant, not so much. That should have been the end of the story, but it’s not.

You see, this particular dentist is apparently very honest. He actually told Mrs. Nelson she was a fine employee, but you’re fired. She asked a reasonable question. Why? Instead of making up a perfectly logical explanation like we are cutting staff due to Obamacare or you have been late twice or maybe you didn’t wash your hands after using the bathroom, he tells her the truth. You’re fired because I think you’re hot! Or more importantly, my wife thinks I think you’re hot, so you’re gone.

Well, Mrs. Nelson isn’t just another dumb blonde. She lawyers up and the games begin and now end in the oh-so-brilliant hands of the Iowa Supreme Court. This ruling makes no real sense. Where is the outrage from women’s groups? Crickets. Doesn’t this just open up a whole can of worms? I can see it now. We need some woman to fire a man because he’s just adorable. Then maybe a gay boss could fire someone for being just too darn straight, or how about a skinny boss fires a larger person? Don’t even mention what race someone is or isn’t! How about a High School teacher sends home a cheerleader because he can’t concentrate on his periodic table? Where does this end?

I’m not sure I’m really against firing someone because you have an obsession with them. I mean this guy chose his marriage over his employee. I don’t fault him for that. He could have ignored it and watched his home life deteriorate faster than spit through that suction tube. This kind of thing has been going on for as long as there have dentists. My wife was a dental assistant for an older dentist when she was in her twenties, and she endured verbal abuse, that would have been grounds to sue. Instead, she just quit like a normal person.

About the author: S.C. Sherman

S.C. Sherman grew up a farm kid in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications Studies. Steve is a business owner, and recently ran for Iowa State House of Representatives.. S.C. enjoys political commentary and great stories. He has written three fiction novels found at He currently lives with his wife and four children in North Liberty, Iowa.

View all articles by S.C. Sherman

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