howtheduck (howtheduck) wrote in binky_betsy,

The Real Elliot/Everett Callahan

In 2005, John Patterson hired a young dentist as an associate with the intent of selling his practice to him. He was introduced only as Everett, and Lynn Johnston’s characterization of him seemed to be modeled off the personality of Keanu Reeves’ character in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. In other words, Lynn Johnston had no idea how to write dialogue for a young man in his 20s, and her readers were delighted by its astonishing badness. I believe that he was modeled off a real-life person, even though Lynn Johnston has never mentioned it before. I will talk about it more after the cut.

The Comic Strips

Everett/Elliot Callahan is in 4 comic strips, all from 2005. If you look carefully you can see in the first panel of the 3rd strip, the door plate lists him as Dr. E. Ha_{cut off}, so it's possible that Lynn had a different last name in mind than the one listed in the monthly letters.

The Monthly Letters

This was also the time of the monthly letters and John Patterson’s monthly frequently made references to Everett and through them we learned that John did sell his practice before the comic strip ended in 2008. These are some of John’s letters talking about him:

John's Letter, March 2005

I have to say that work is much less stressful now that we've hired Everett Callahan as a full time associate. He is planning to purchase the practice down the road, and is young (28), energetic, and really enthusiastic. He reminds me of myself when I was just starting out, and of how different things were then. It seems that I don't do anything the way we were taught in dental school. Everything has changed for the better, mostly. I remember them telling us that by the year 2010, dentists would no longer be placing fillings and that the work would dry up for us. As yet, this is not the case.

The staff and patients really like Everett, so I don't mind turning the practice over to someone who has a similar philosophy and appreciates what I have developed.

Note that Everett is 28 years old. In the next letter, his name mysteriously changed to Elliot, until aprilp_katje reminded them his name was actually Everett. From then on, we snarkers called him Elliot/Everett or Everett/Elliot.

John's Letter, November 2005

Speaking of brains, my left side confirms that things are just ticking along at the clinic. Every day I develop more and more respect for Elliot, my associate dentist. He absolutely loves dentistry, and the patients. I listen to his conversations with them. He asks them questions about themselves, and takes an interest in their lives. I wish I could be as keen as he is. The staff assures me that I am, but he sure has been a great addition to the practice. He and I will have to have a conversation soon about him purchasing it, and having me work as the associate. I can't imagine retiring just yet, but it sure is nice to have the pressure taken off, so that we can share the patient load. We continue to have more patients (actually, we are now supposed to call them clients), and it would have been difficult for me to keep up without getting booked way ahead, if Elliot had not come along. We are actually thinking of expanding the practice now!

The neighbouring office has moved out of the building after 25 years there, and the space is just right for expanding our office space by about a third. We have to make up our minds soon, before someone else nabs the space. Boy, good thing I am doing this newsletter. It reminds me that Elliot and I really have to talk about the future. It's scary to look that far ahead, but it is a necessary thing to do. Once you get into it, and have a plan laid out, it can be quite exciting to see if you can actually pull the plan off!

Then it goes back to Everett and John mentions that Everett is engaged to a nameless surgical nurse with short brown hair and he has no kids.

John's Letter, October 2006

Speaking of age -we had a difficult little three year old patient the other day at the clinic... mostly just behavioral problems, but poor Everett, who has no children, really was struggling to know just what to do. It made me feel good to be able to quietly come in behind them and make some suggestions as to how to handle the scared little guy - like explaining what everything is for and why you use all the instruments. The suggestions worked, and the child is looking forward to coming in next time! That's the great thing about dentistry these days. Very few regular patients are nervous any more, and they actually look forward to coming to see us. Dental visits are more like social visits now. I can't imagine what it must have been like for dentists back in the 1950's who did not have nitrous oxide, or anesthetic that was very reliable, or even dental materials that worked well, for that matter. Whoever says the "good old days" is certainly not a dentist!

Speaking of Everett, he has recently become engaged! I only met his fiancé once so far, but she's very pretty, with short dark hair. She is a surgical nurse who specializes in joint replacements! I did not know that nurses specialized, but apparently that's happening more and more, as they take extra training. Like dentistry, I suppose, our staff are becoming more and more specialized as well. In the 50's hygienists were unheard of, (or even imagined), and nowadays pretty well every office, no matter how small has at least one hygienist. Periodontal disease, a brand new science in the 50's, was much more related to gum surgery, and has evolved into a very sophisticated preventive therapy now, thanks to the proliferation of hygienists. Anyway, it is nice to see Everett settling in as he gets older.

In this letter John talks about a shortened work week and Everett is now the owner. Coincidentally, May 2007 is the month after Lynn and Rod separated, so the first letter that cannot have been written by Rod is the one that talks about selling his dental business, which he did in real life 5 years before this.

John's Letter, May 2007

The clinic is going well, and I really enjoy my shortened week. Although with all the chaos in the house, and the incredibly busy schedules, the clinic has become a place of peace for me. I know what is going to happen because it's all laid out on a sheet each day. And, since it's a working relationship with everyone, the "getting along with everyone" aspect is much easier. Everett is now the owner, and he is making all sorts of changes that I wouldn't have thought of. These changes make things much easier in many ways. I should've hired him to manage the place back when he was in high school!

This is the mention in the last John’s monthly letter.

John's Letter, August 2007

Everett has all but taken over the clinic, now. I'm sort of working as his associate and he will be taking steps to buy the practice in the fall. I'll be able to work a few days a week and keep my hands in it. I do enjoy the social aspect and I like the satisfaction of doing the work itself. I'm just quite ready to slow down.

In the University of Toronto Dental Alumni newsletter (which I can no longer link, sorry) talking about Dr. Rod Johnston, it mentions that he had a little log cabin clinic off Highway 94 in Corbeil and he sold that practice in 2002. The dentist that currently occupies that space (in other words the only dentist in a log cabin dental clinic on Highway 94 in Corbeil) is Dr. Peter Fuzy. This is a picture of Dr. Fuzy with his staff. His hair style does definitely match that of Dr. Everett/Elliot Callahan, although he has a goatee in the picture and not a chin beard.

Looking at his history, Dr. Fuzy did arrive in Corbeil in 2001, so he arrived just in time to work for Dr. Rod Johnston before buying his clinic in 2002. His university education started in 1991. Assuming he was 18 years old at the time he started university, then in 2001 he would have been the 28 years old ascribed to Dr. Elliot/Everett Callahan in John's letter. As for his kids, they are in this picture and you can see that they are young enough where they would not have been alive 14 years ago, so that matches the childless aspect. A quick internet search on wife Karen Fuzy in the North Bay area reveals she is an Audiologist and got her degree from the same university at the same time Dr. Fuzy did. She is not the surgical nurse of John’s letter and she and Peter were probably together before they moved to Corbeil and not engaged later as described in John’s letter. Nevertheless, she does work in the medical profession. She also has dyed red hair and not brown hair, but brown may have been her colour at one point. However, her hair is relatively short and she is pretty, as described in John’s letter, so "John" had that point right.

Did Dr. Rod Johnston work part-time for Dr. Fuzy after he sold his practice to him, just as John Patterson said he worked for Everett/Elliot Callahan part-time as described in the John monthly letters?

I don’t know. However, on Rod Johnston’s current website, he has a newsletter from his current dental clinic from Summer of 2008 where he describes how he started fill-in work replacing the dentist from whom he would ultimately buy his clinic in 2008 starting a year and half before that time. He says in the newsletter that he had been retired for 2 days before he was called for fill-in, which means that he was working in some capacity in dentistry up until the end of 2006. My guess is that he was working part-time in Dr. Fuzy’s office, but Rod Johnston does not say that specifically and I can find no internet proof that he did. This is the link to the newsletter:


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