Dentists get such a bad rap! And the jokes about them are terrible.

Patient: How much to have this tooth pulled, Doc?
Dentist: $120.
Patient: That much for just a few minutes' work?
Dentist: I can extract it very slowly, if you'd like.

Dr. Mac has heard them all. He would let his patients make him the butt of them — especially if it helped them relax a bit.

Patient: How much to extract wisdom teeth?
Dentist: $500.
Patient: That's ridiculous! Isn't there something cheaper?
Dentist: I can cut the price in half, if we don't use anesthetic.
Patient: Nope. That's still way too much.
Dentist: OK. If I just rip them out with pliers, the price is $50.
Patient: That's more like it. Book my husband for next Monday.

Dr. Mac had this big, infectious smile that didn't depend on corny jokes. If his cosmetic work to put pretty smiles on others' faces got rave reviews, the authentic warmth that can light up a room comes from a deeper place. Dr. Mac had such a place — deep in his heart, but always accessible.

One of those dentist jokes is believable about him.

Dr. Mac: Would you give me a few of your loudest, most blood-curdling screams?
Patient: But this hasn't been all that bad!
Dr. Mac: I know. But there are still folks in the waiting room, and I want to go by this afternoon's Titans (or Predators) practice.

He loved life. He cared about people.
The avid sports fan in Dr. Mac found immense satisfaction in being team dentist for both of Nashville's professional sports franchises. And this ecumenical graduate of the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry was so devoted to Vanderbilt athletics that he received the National Commodore Club Award several years back. But there are lots of athletes who will tell you that Dr. Mac wasn't so much their dentist as their friend.

Ah, that was his real specialty: friendship. He loved life. He cared about people. I think it was Joseph Addison who said something like: "Friendship enlarges happiness and reduces misery — by doubling every joy and dividing every grief." The wife he loved, the children in whom he took so much pride, the many of us who called him our friend — we have been blessed by him.

His peers chose Dr. James W. McPherson to be listed among the Best Dentists in America 2004-2005. Many more would put him in the book of Best Friends in My Life — Ever. It just goes to show that everyone loves a lover. And it reminds the rest of us to pay more attention to what matters most — people.

The sweet smell of incense can make you feel good, but true friendship is better still. (Proverbs 27:10 CEV)