I recently read a charming blog post by a fellow writer, Kat Varn. It was about her role as the tooth fairy when her children were younger and it tickled me. I’ve included a link here and hope you’ll pop over to her page for a chuckle.
But in the midst of my giggling, I was struck by the idea that it’s really adults that need a tooth fairy. Fact is, at some age you’re going to have dental issues. Unless you’re a dentist at a dental convention where such topics might be compelling, one doesn’t hear much small talk about dental problems at cocktail parties. Can you imagine the look on someone’s face if your ice-breaker was, “Man oh man, my dentist just told me that my gums are receding and that I have gingivitis?” Well, no. Because you wouldn’t get a good look at their face; you’d get a mere glimpse of their back as they ran the other direction.
Right away it’s clear. This is not “sharing” information. Not even the old guys sit around and commiserate about their teeth. Then there’s dealing with the guilt of it, the regret. I do remember going two full days without flossing… and that one night I was a little tipsy and went to bed without brushing. But it’s disgusting to talk about and even more revolting to live through.
There’s a special kind of terror knowing that if you lose a tooth it won’t grow back. A terrible disquiet that haunts, just knowing that you’ve graduated to implants or partial plates. Another bull horn voice shouting, “YOU’RE OLD.” But there is still a firm belief that no matter how old, you’re still too young for dentures. The whole idea of looking at your teeth floating in a glass every morning is enough to make you want to swan dive from the Golden Gate.
The tooth fairy of my youth left a brand new quarter under my pillow and a whole lot of promise that my new incisor would be growing in soon. In my mind, she was beautiful, with wings, flying through the bedroom with a bag full of quarters in a pouch. She had a magic wand that briefly kissed my cheek and voilá, my new tooth was already starting to grow!
I hear there is new science tied to DNA where they are currently able to grow adult teeth back in primates. I’ll be dead before they try it on humans… pushing up daises by the time that tooth fairy evolves.
I need my tooth fairy now. I don’t really give a damn if she’s pretty with wings. I already know her magic wand is dead; if you lost it, it’s not growing back. I’m positive that a bagful of quarters won’t cut it. Fact is, you can’t replace anything today for twenty-five cents. So she’d better be pulling a Brinks truck behind her. Or maybe she could leave a winning lottery ticket under my pillow.
I should be asking for you to share your stories here, but I won’t. Because even if I’m wrong and old guys do talk about their teeth…well, we haven’t gotten there.
But do feel free to share this post if you liked it. I’d be grateful.