Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fangs A Lot


I'm not saying it's a really big deal. People go through a lot worse; it's just off-putting. I lost a little bit of a tooth the other day. You can't tell from the front. It just got thinner from the inside, where a shard calved off. It's just another example of the fact that you can't really count on anything. I remember when this particular tooth was brand new. It had little ridges on the top. My teeth have never been prize material: they're stained, small, and crooked, but by gum, as it were, they have always done the job. They've diced up truly heroic amounts of food over the years and sent it straight down the hatch, no problem. But now, apparently, they can just snap off on a soft chicken-andouille sausage. What's next? If I slug down a kiwi smoothie with the seeds still in it, can I expect to see kidney shrapnel in my urine stream?

As soon as my tooth sheared off, my tongue mounted an exploratory expedition. A new entry point was discovered right away, and various new ravines and shafts were mapped. Continued effort revealed the possible presence of artifacts thought to date from the ancient Bicuspid civilization, and investigation is continuing on a nearly 24-hour basis even without funding. It's not sustainable.

The thing is, a girl gets used to her own body, and comes to depend on various components of it, and then they let you down. It's bad enough to watch your own skin puddle up at the elbows or your boobs get so far away that you can't get the middle part of your trifocals on them. At least with all that, everything's still in the vicinity. But now things are just snapping off? How is that fair? And it's only likely to get worse. I've heard of women dropping their uteruses. I'd always put it down to inattention, but it's not like I'm getting any sharper, myself.

This inexorable decay can wear on a person. I remember old man Moore down the street when I was little. He'd get to hacking and you could hear the lung nuggets rattling away like a string of tin cans in his throat. Every time he's start up, I'd think: he's on the way out. It scared me down to my spongy new marrow. And that's when it hit me: if you can't prevent deterioration, re-cast it as a new power. We have the power to provoke existential dread in the young. And we should use that power.

You know how certain animals--butterflies, newts--are brightly colored as a warning to potential predators that they are dangerous? Maybe that's what old-lady breath is for. It's a warning to others not to get too close. Stand back! We're disintegrating faster than you can duck. Things could fly off of us at any time. You could get impaled on a suddenly sproinging chin hair. Teeth could detonate. We're one missed curb away from spraying hipbone fragments at you. We can take out a toddler with one swing of the bingo-wings. We may be on the way out, Junior, but we can take you with us, and don't think we won't.

49 comments:

  1. As my daughter was reading this fang to me, I was busily using a little gum reamer to clean between my teeth, in all the little crevices and cracks. It seemed appropriate. I managed to swallow all the shrapnel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! You can clean between your teeth? My teeth don't even have a "between" anymore. They're all one unit.

      Delete
  2. And here I was, wondering what all this deterioration was good for, and getting kind of down in the dumps. No more! 'Scuse me while I go scare up some young folks. So to speak.

    P. S. The teeth problems used to drive me crazy. Now it's my eyes, and suddenly the teeth don't seem like such a problem. Moral of the story: things could always be worse! And eventually will be!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Second moral of the story: if I had the proper perspective, I wouldn't whine so much. Gad. Eyes still working so far...although they work a lot better near.

      Delete
  3. The power of the many-seasoned. Harness it and use it. Scary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you remember looking at old people's skin and thinking, jeez--why don't they DO something about that?

      Delete
    2. I can scarcely remember yesterday.

      Delete
  4. It isn't the missing bits which bother me. It is those parts of me which have gone on strike. Permanent strike. And I cannot think of a wage high enough to induce them to return - though my brain is at least on intermittent strike which doesn't help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once again, proper perspective is brung to the fore. I am officially relinquishing my license to whine about my teeth. Until I need another post.

      Delete
    2. No, no, no. I am a firm believer in 'give us this day our daily whinge'. Or whine. Or both.

      Delete
    3. EC is right! Whine away. I can take it. I can dish it out, too. Which may explain why my husband refuses to do anything about his hearing loss. Hm.

      Delete
    4. I recently discovered Dave can't hear nuthatches. They can be right nearby going yangk yangk yangk yangk and he doesn't hear them. He says they're at the exact same pitch my voice is. Hm.

      Delete
    5. Whoa. Do you think we will take anything away from these revelations?

      Nah, me neither.

      Delete
  5. "I'd always put it down to inattention": my guffaw woke the dog.

    What excellent advice: kids need dread. My long-time BREAD kids often note my specific aging flaws in aggrieved tones. I'll start encouraging their assumption of intentional spite. "Be quiet during read-aloud, or my lumpy hand veins will spread to you." Let 'em quake for 40 or 50 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I was even a little afraid of old ladies who didn't hack their lungs out. They looked like they could tear if you pressed on them. They smelled funny. I'm going for it.

      Delete
  6. My prostate went bad so they cut it out,
    They replaced my knee 'cause it was worn out,
    My parts are getting rare
    What's next I don't know
    But I want to be there
    Just to watch it go

    Now I've got to put it to music.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yess! May I suggest accompanying yourself on an old saw?

      Delete
  7. If you won't complain about your teeth, I won't complain about my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dude. Go ahead and complain. You've earned it.

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Murr, I love you. You make me feel normal, and that's no easy task.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I declare us normal. The rest of the people need to get with the program.

      Delete
  10. At the dentist on Monday, she pointed out I hadn't flossed enough. I corrected her and told her I hadn't flossed at all. So, when she gave me the little box of floss to take home, and I asked her if she had any unwaxed floss instead, she asked why I even cared since I most likely wouldn't floss this 6 months, either. I told her I needed it for tying off my kids' umbilical cords (always stick with the truth, right?). Loooooord. You should have seen her face!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Floss is also good for field work when you have to catch lizards. Waxed is better in that application; the slip knot on the loop at the end of the stick really slips. Then, over the head and woopsie, upsie daisie! Just be sure to catch him on the first try; the second time he's onto that arm extension trick.

      Delete
    2. Lordy, the things I learn here. Incidentally, it should be pointed out that Kat raises GOATS...

      Delete
    3. Another thing waxed floss is good for - tying oboe reeds. Didn't know they needed to be tied? Well, actually, you bind a pair of reeds to this little bocal (little tube). Used to have to use beeswax on expensive nylon thread, then my teacher said waxed dental floss worked well. Did, too. Probably works for bassoon reeds as well, but I never made those. You can scare little kids by playing the oboe even when you are quite young, not only with the sound, but the scarey pinched face that must be made to make the sound.

      Delete
    4. Now I have a happy picture of Petey Otterloop playing the oboe hrrnk hrrnk hrrnk! I think I also planned to sew up Dave's hand with waxed dental floss once, but it was too thick. I have to get the super thin kind if I ever hope to slide it in between my teeth. Why couldn't they have slid into the space the wisdom teeth came out of? Would that have been so hard?

      Delete
    5. bassoons are even better for scaring little kids -- but then they get a little older and stand outside your door making farting noises when you practice...

      Delete
    6. Or was it a bassoon that Petey Otterloop played?

      Delete
  11. When I first read the title of this post I thought: Whoopee! Murr has battled a vampire! She encountered one on the bus and drove a wooden stake through his heart!
    Disappointed. Now get out there and slay a vampire, or behead a zombie, or put a silver bullet into a werewolf! I want action and drama~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, I don't think I ever had a stake in anything. Had a wild ride on the stock market once before I ascertained the lowest possible level and sold...

      Delete
  12. Also, "Parts" by Ted Arnold was one of our favorite bedtime books. Maybe I should procure a copy for you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Being short there's not a lot of distance between any of my parts, so I can still see all of it, even without the glasses, but I sympathise with you on the disintegrating teeth. Mine have been doing it for years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess it's a thing. One of the things they don't tell you about in advance. Shit happens, and the doctor just shrugs and says "that just starts to happen at your age."

      Delete
  14. Teeth? You still have teeth?

    The business end of one of my front "fake" teeth broke off in a piece of bread a few weeks ago. I went to my denturist, hoping for some good glue. Hah! She said, "I can file down the one beside it, so you won't look so lopsided."

    Now I can rattle a knife between my uppers and lowers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't you think, as long as the teeth are fake to begin with, they could make them out of titanium or something? They can send a man to the moon, but...

      Delete
  15. All this talk of tooth disintegration makes me think dental insurance could be a good idea--or maybe my mouth's future is full of glue and baling wire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's the deal with dental insurance. It costs eight thousand dollars a month and doesn't cover implants or crowns. You can get a right good polishing out of it, though.

      Delete
  16. OK, when you wrote about being frightened by 'old man Moore, down the street' hacking up 'lung nuggets', I was jettisoned back to 1971, listening to Jethro Tull's "Aqualung": http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jethrotull/aqualung.html Oh golly, who knows where the time goes? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And now, rather than having Aqualung running through my brain, I have "Who Knows Where The Time Goes." It's probably better that way. I liked Jethro Tull's stuff, but what's-his-name wasn't that good a flute player, and playing while standing on one foot wasn't enough of a gimmick to hide that.

      Delete
  17. Replies
    1. Doesn't hold a candle to my cat's breath, though. It could drop a moose.

      Delete
  18. I hereby resolve to have a better sense of humor about all my failing parts. Oh, who am I kidding? None of it is funny until Murr writes about it!

    ReplyDelete
  19. The warning coloration happens to some old ladies, too. The cataracts make everything look manilla-envelope colored, so the old ladies think the purple floral skirt and the orange plaid blouse look just fine together. The REALLY poisonous ones go to blacks, or dark neutrals though, because "it doesn't show the dirt."

    ReplyDelete