Saving My Parts: Part 1

Oh the Shark Bites

THE TEETH

It’s a good thing I’m retired because trying to save my parts is becoming a full time job. There’s the teeth. More dentist appointments, cleaning and x-rays. Brushing and flossing-using a tiny brush to get under the three bridges I’m sporting. I keep floss in the glove compartment so at a stoplight I can make use of the time, otherwise wasted.  When the light turns green I just let it hang there till the next red light where I can finish the job. Because my windows are slightly tinted I feel sure no one could possibly notice.

Remembering my old Uncle Ollie’s teeth frightens me into taking better care of the ones I have left. I certainly don’t want to end up with horse teeth like his. They were long with receding gums and  each one was stained a dirty yellow brown. His mouth was always open as he noticeably breathed  in and out. A repugnant, sweet odor filled the air around him, making me keep my distance.

No-kissing-Uncle-Ollie-good-bye.

Several years ago it became the rage to peroxide your teeth. Your dentist could do it for a handsome sum of $250. It was even encouraged. My friend Kit, who’s my age, said her dentist was after her to get her teeth whitened. It would make her “look younger.”  After several persistent discussions on his part, she finally said, “If I get white, sparkling teeth so I can look so much younger, what can you do about all these wrinkles?”

Then at my salon I started hearing the hair stylists and their assistants stressing over how white or not so white their teeth were. They’d go over to a huge mirror and make a big sneer, inspecting each tooth for signs of yellow. I thought this was insane.

Later on that summer several of us were car camping at a trailhead in the Colorado Rockies. In the morning we were standing around the Coleman stove sipping French roast coffee and discussing the ensuing hike. I suddenly became aware that we all had those stained, yellowing teeth. Since I had known everybody for at least 30 years, I’m guessing the brownish yellow had been coming on gradually. I just hadn’t noticed.

As soon as I got back to civilization I went straight to Walgreens, bought those strips, folded them over my teeth, clenched my jaw and drifted off to sleep. I did this for 14 days, the uppers first, to see if it really worked- and it did- and then another two week regimen for the lowers.

I now have pearly white teeth with plenty of wrinkles.