As a blogger over the years, I’ve generally avoided sharingÂ the nuances of bodily state or machinations of marital war and peace. (If there are regular readers out there, even on a Friday, you’ll have already nailed me as a liar on both counts. There are even several pieces about the spousal unit in Slow Road and What We Hold in Our Hands. So sue me.)
I don’t think, however, with the exception of the selfie from the dentist chair in the nitrous oxide clown mask (which I would have linked here but cannot locate), I’ve notÂ talked teeth very much. Thankfully, the choppers have held up pretty well to the daily grind. This morning however, we have an Oral Code Red Alert.
And as you are certainly aware, such emergencies unfailingly happen while out of town on a weekend over a holiday while expected for an important meeting. Or some combination of two or more of these ingredients. Today’s crisis qualifies, so in my own mind at least, this is a big deal:
My upper incisor (that would the front toof to you lay-persons) calved the entire back side like a melting Arctic glacier. The face of the tooth remains, fragile as gramma’s crystal gravy bowl, and with one vertical edge gone black, just enough to suggest a hint of Jethro Bodine.
The sleep-robbing part of this just-before-bedtimeÂ breakdown in the status quo of my personal body is the inconvenience and “unexpected” expense here in the early months of fixed income. I can’t say I didn’t see the threat on the horizon. Let me quote myself from less than a week ago, where I failed to acknowledge the looming threat of Dental Disaster:
“But the unexpected, inevitable death of major appliances, of vehicles or for home repairs—all live insideÂ a black hole. And of course we face the increasing probability of medical expenses over and above what the best combination of SS plus Supplemental will cover. We’re quite healthy at the moment. But…
These leaks, the Great Flushing, can happen as quickly as the Titanic hitting an iceberg—and so it makes those of us in the Jacuzzi of the Golden Years necessarily cautious about what would once have been significant but not sleep-depriving decisions.”
Yes, I could just have the stump of the tooth pulled and be content toÂ lose the ability to whistle ever again. At the same time, I would gain status as featured personality in town with some of the tourists of a Friday night who may have come to see stereotypical Appalachian edentulous half-wits.
But no. I’ll pay the thousands out of retirement-shallow pockets (and in the absence of any dental version of Medicare) over the course of who knows how many 4 hour visits to Blacksburg. This is what it will cost to return to cosmetic integrity–an imagined personal state of rugged good looks whose ship has sailed if indeed it ever docked.Â At this stage of life, self-image and ego whimper from under the front porch and a body learns humility, with daily lessons and homework.
So folks, the Titanic has hit the iceberg–on a day the dentist office is closed, while we are six hours from home, herding cats. I will be meeting numerous organizational associates at an important meeting. Without smiling. Or whistling. And all I want for Christmas is…well, I don’t generally blog about such personal matters.