I have great gums. I’ve had three dental hygienists tell me so. Recently one told me my gums were all twos and threes with maybe a borderline four, but it was nothing to worry about. I don’t have a clue what any of that means. I would have asked her to explain it to me except she probably would have and don’t have any extra room left in my brain. My head is already filled to capacity with all the information it can hold. If I stick another fact in my head, one of the ones already in there gets pushed out and splatters all over the floor. (I always try to blame the mess on the dog, but my wife makes me get a pail and mop and clean it up anyway.) It wouldn’t be so bad if I could choose which fact came out—I could do without knowing who Magellan was (the first person to go around the world) or my phone number when I was eight (115), but which fact comes out is completely random. I could lose something vitally important such as how to do CPR to save a life or the full lyrics to Don McLean’s American Pie. I’m sure someday they’ll find me wandering aimlessly around in my bathrobe with wet pants. It won’t be Alzheimer’s or dementia. Just a new fact will have pushed out my knowledge of how to find the bathroom.
Where was I again? … Gums! That’s right. I have great gums, and I take good care of my teeth. I haven’t had a cavity in over thirty years. I have my teeth cleaned once a year, and it only takes a few minutes to have it done. The dental hygienist said she was amazed how little plague build up I have, although she didn’t give it a number. So I have well-cared for teeth sitting in excellent gums—mostly twos and threes—and they are falling apart faster than a car whose warranty has just expired.
For the last month I’ve been fighting a toothache that turned out to be two toothaches. My bottom tooth broke off a few years ago, and I had to have a root canal and a crown put on it. My excellent, almost prize-winning, gums decided they were too good to associate with an inferior tooth—they can be arrogant little snots—and started pulling away from it, exposing the root. The pain was just slightly more than a railroad spike being driven into my jaw with a sledge hammer. I got that fixed and found that the pain I’d had before had a few advantages, such as masking the pain from the tooth directly over it where the nerves were dying.
My father had bad teeth. He blamed all his ills on them, backache, headaches, the Cold War and disco. He finally had them pulled out and got dentures. He still had headaches and backaches, but the Cold War and disco are gone. Maybe he was on to something. Anyway, because I’ve been in pain for a month, I’m not a very funny guy. So while I can’t give you a big belly laugh right now, maybe I can give you a chill. Check out my new light horror novel from Wings ePress. It’s available at most online locations.