By Monte Lazarus
It happened suddenly. One moment I was a whole sentient being merrily chomping on something. The next moment I felt a large crater in my jaw. It easily was at least as large as the Grand Canyon…all because I lost a crown from a tooth. “Oomph”, I mumbled, “I fink I loft a toofth”. (It was hard to mumble clearly over the distraction of a huge crater).
My wife, always alert to my tribulations, immediately translated what I had mumbled and set about issuing an All Points Bulletin, accompanied by a massive search. “How did it happen?” she asked pleasantly. “I dunno. I wath eatin’ thith large prethel, and juth like that I loft my toofth.”
“That’s the last pretzel you eat, Mister” were her soothing words. “Let’s keep looking, but we’ll have to get you to your favorite dentist.” We looked for the crown high and low, hither, yon and elsewhere. Alas, we found no crown; not even a trace. So, we made an appointment and, at the sound of reveille Monday morning, I presented myself to my favorite dentist.
Fortunately, he is not related to my undergraduate college dentist in Madison, Wisconsin. I do not remember him fondly. We dubbed him “The Claw” because the slightest report of a twinge of pain resulted in an instant tooth retraction. It wasn’t only the football team who were missing teeth in those bygone days, but I digress…
My favorite dentist asked whether I had found the crown. “Nope”, I said brilliantly. “Well” he said, “You’ll have to keep looking at … [here the description gets too vivid and must be redacted].
I did not follow his advice about finding the missing piece, and set about getting a new crown. I soon learned that crowns, whether those in the Tower of London or in a favorite dentist’s office, are very expensive.
He was very efficient and exceedingly kind, and I immediately had a temporary crown, followed by the real thing about a week and many bucks later. It’s well worth it, since I can now sneak hard pretzels past my wife, and chew on the other side of my mouth where there are no crowns…yet.
About a week after receiving the shiny new crown I was sitting in my favorite chair reading a book that did not once mention teeth or dentists, when I turned to pick up a pretzel (of course) off the table. I felt something attacking my very bottom. You are entirely correct: It was my missing crown, looking a bit dull and dispirited. “Cheer up”, I told my old friend. “Tonight you are going under my pillow. I’m sure the tooth fairy will put at least a $1,000 bill there to cover some of our costs.”
I’m still waiting.