Thursday, December 08, 2005

How my routine visit to the dentist might have gone if I was very weird...

I went to the dentist today. She took out all my teeth and
replaced them with shiny gold ones. I imagine that this has
enhanced my dignity, but chewing is more difficult than you
would expect. Also, since it’s the holidays and all, I couldn’t
justify spending thousands and thousands of dollars on solid
gold teeth. No, I wanted to be frugal–I chose to make do
with space-age plastic teeth that were merely gold plated.
This seemed to me to be a reasonable compromise between
economy and style, but–looking in my mirror now–I realize
that the gold isn't so much gold as kind of a beigeish-yellow.
Nowthat’s cool, I guess, but I’m not sure why I didn’t just
drink a pot of coffee a day and take up smoking for awhile.
Becauseunder certain lights–namely florescent, neon, soft
indoor, hard indoor, and natural–the effect is pretty much
the same. Think of a legal pad and that’s the color. A “canary”
kind of thing, which–don’t get me wrong–is a wonderful and
aesthetically-appealing color, but still isn’t exactly what most
people would think of when they say “gold”. And I definitely
asked for gold.I don’t remember going into the dentists’ and
saying, “Please, Miss Dentist, give me your finest canary
teeth!”. Why would I do that? There’s no street cache in
canary teeth, is there? Maybe there is. I had my heart set
on the gold, you see, I just didn’t have an adequate op-
portunity to research other colors.

Where I was before I got off into the whole color issue? Oh
yeah, I was going to tell you about my problems chewing! And
chewing used to be so easy! I’d just put food in my mouth and–
bam!–the next thing I knew, it’d be chewed! Not anymore, I’m
afraid, not with my fresh new canary teeth. Let’s say I’ve got
a bagel, right? And let’s say I want to eat that bagel. Now-
adays, I’m going to have to rip off a very small bit of it and
knead it in my fingers for awhile. This tenderizes the bagel,
you see. Because if I just try and gnaw the bagel as is, my
gums are going to gush blood and my teeth are going to get
stuck in the dough and before I know it I’ve got a choking
throatful of gory bagel bits and “gold” plated teeth to deal
with. So I must tenderize the bagel. When I’m done with
that, I sort of gingerly put the pre-tenderized bagel piece
on my bottom teeth and slowly mash it up for awhile: five
minutes, ten minutes, as long as it takes. I’ve found that
the trick is to avoid using the jaw and to have the tongue do
most of the work. What I do to this hypothetical bagel is mor-
sel is whack it with my tongue until it breaks up enough to
slip down into my stomach without causing too much trouble.
This is tiring. And it isn’t just bagels, either: it’s pizza, it’s
burgers, it’s fishsticks, it’s nougat, it’s home fries, it’s Cobb
Salad, and–worst of all–it’s breaded salmon. I used to love
breaded salmon.

But perhaps you’ve heard the saying: he who changes his
teeth changes his whole existence. I’m quickly coming to
understand that as more than just another morsel of Lith-
uanian folk wisdom. My family is from Vilnius, you know.
There we sit about a great fire, singing songs of peaceable
women and wild men, eating breaded salmon, and playing
an ancient game that involves rocks and sticks and little
baskets of dirt. What tales I could tell you of Vilnius! Oh,
sweet home on the Baltic, I long to walk your cobbled alley-
ways again, to feel the glory of your architecture and culture
beating anew within my frail sparrow’s breast!


What was I on about just now? No, before the Lithuania
business. My teeth? Oh yeah, right. That’s right. I re-
member now.

I miss my old teeth.