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Ain’t That a Kick in the Teeth

By October 31, 2013May 22nd, 2015No Comments


My teeth are a liab­il­ity. After weeks of try­ing to ignore the con­stant stabbing pain in my jaw, which has ris­en to a cres­cendo of agony and blurred vis­ion, I went to the dent­ist to find I am blessed with an abs­cess and will be fur­ther blessed with a costly root-canal bill. Add this to the thou­sands of dol­lars I am pay­ing for ortho­dont­ic work, and I can hon­estly say I have not spent more money on any­thing in my life.

My dad got all his teeth pulled out when he was 19. On pur­pose. In an epic, testoster­one-fuelled battle of the late 1960s. This story is legendary. One day when I tell it to my grandkids it will involve oth­er body parts also being removed, but for now, this is what actu­ally happened…

My dad went to the dent­ist, who told him he needed a tooth pulled out.

Dad: “Why don’t you pull them all out then?”

Dent­ist: “OK. I will then.”

Dad: “All right. Go on. Pull them all out.”

Dent­ist: “Fine. If that’s what you want.”

Dad: “Yip. Do it.”

Dent­ist: “I hope you are ser­i­ous, because I will do this.”

Dad: “I am. Pull them out. All of them.”

Dent­ist: “OK. I am pulling them out now. I have removed a tooth. Shall we continue?”

Dad: “Yes. Didn’t even hurt.”

Dad had two rows of false teeth installed. From the age of 19 he had to buy Freedent gum and put his teeth in a glass before bed. What a catch. Go Mum.

I always thought this was the most ridicu­lous illus­tra­tion of mas­culin­ity, stub­born­ness and bor­der­line med­ic­al mal­prac­tice I have ever heard. Now, I am start­ing to real­ise that if I had had my teeth removed at the age of 19 I would have saved thou­sands of dol­lars already. By the time I am in my 70s, it could be tens of thou­sands of dol­lars. These exten­sions of my skull are kind of vul­ner­able, and don’t cope too well with sug­ar, my long-term lover.

The thing about teeth is, if you don’t look after them, every­one knows about it. The reper­cus­sions and social implic­a­tions are huge. Rot­ten or miss­ing teeth are hard to ignore, and tend to thwart efforts to get a job (or a sweet pash).

My heart is in excel­lent shape. So are my lungs. But people don’t see these interi­or things. I could walk around with a chest X‑ray and an ECG report stapled to my fore­head, but I highly doubt it would win over a poten­tial employer.

I think a lot of my peers are grate­ful the liv­er is enclosed with­in the walls of our torso, and not dangling freely from our chin. I know a lot of unhappy liv­ers, and they can stay hid­den as far as I am concerned.

My heart is happy. My teeth are not. They need to harden up. Or I need to avoid sug­ar from now on. Sug­ar and I have had some good times. It has got me through long days, some tra­gic times, and said “sorry” when words were failing.

But I would like to announce, here and now, that sug­ar and I are offi­cially end­ing our rela­tion­ship. It’s over. Sug­ar has been slowly erod­ing my self-worth and my tooth enamel: it’s time to find a new buddy.

I mean this. I beg of you, dear read­er, that if you see me with any sug­ary food then punch me. Punch me any­where. Punch my throat. Punch my stom­ach. Just don’t punch my teeth, because that would defeat the point.

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