No tooth, nothing but the tooth

Richard Lutz stumbles through another week.




Well, some days are best left staying in bed.

There’s nothing like watching a valuable implant somehow being wedged from your mouth by dental floss and spinning down a plug hole. The waste pipe is a puzzle that a celestial mechanic couldn’t untangle. A plumber is not available for two days. The implant is stuck in the U bend. Knitting needles, barbeque forks, long, nasty looking knives, wishful thinking, cannot locate that piece of dental kit.

My mouth, almost a robo-mouth by now with all the bills I’ve thrown at it over the decades, has a big gap and I am resigned to resemble a pirate for a weekend.

I go outside to continue the Sisyphian task of cleaning out messy garden borders. I have wild Scottish nasturtiums that are great in summer but are greasy and brown in November. Inch by inch I upend, uproot, rip them from hedges.

Until I get poked in the eye with a random stalk of something that’s very pretty until late autumn and then transforms into a deadly weapon. I am now short of an incisor and one-eyed.

The day is going nowhere. And I look pretty rough anyway. I call it quits.

I slouch in the big reclining chair that Jimmy, my 90 year old neighbour, gave me. It is tattered and worn and ugly, really ugly. It used to be green and now is a lighter shade of indeterminate. But, it’s saving grace is its comfort. So comfortable that I fall into a deep sleep every time I reach for a book. My world record is plunging into slumber after just two sentences and a sub clause. It’s that comfortable.

I keep my Iphone next to me. An English teacher from my first year in high school gently steered our class into searching out words we didn’t know. He seemed so old, so wise back then. He must have been, in retrospect, only in his mid-twenties and since I was a hesitant new boy in my new overwhelming school, it gave me great comfort to follow his kind and careful guidance as he reminded us to use our dictionaries or even the otherworldly Thesaurus.

Following Mr Smith’s lead (yes, that was his name), I still stop and check out words. Lacking a tooth and an eye, I search, Smith-like, for the following: purlieu, deracinated, revenant, disinterested, ineffable.

Armed with these new weapons, these words which I might even use one day, I steel myself for partial sightedness and toothlessness…until the arrivals of Monday, a plumber, an eye patch and a new week.



8 thoughts on “No tooth, nothing but the tooth

  1. I remember being in his class the day JFK got shot. He came into class crying and dismissed us. I’ll never forget it

  2. That’s one of my strongest memories of that day. Seeing Mr Smith’s response, seemingly so different from what we’d ever seen from him, made a strong impression.

  3. Time for me now to look up purlieu and deracinated since I have no idea. New words are mostly limited to what I learn by watching Jeopardy.

  4. I remember Mr. Smith’s class as having a good curriculum, but Doc K as the one who inspired more “thinking”.

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