I've noticed today that missing a front tooth gives one an automatic West Texas accent. That's disturbing, particularly since I hail from New Mexico and West Texas is our sworn enemy.
The price is on my official list of least favorite things: $1,000. That's how much it costs to have a tooth removed and some fake bone affixed to the root. The alternative is a darkening tooth, flapping in the wind every time I spit on the sidewalk.
I felt a tinge of sadness as the dental surgeon carried the tooth — which had snapped in half when I fainted about two weeks ago — away, probably to an unceremonious grave in a biohazard bin. I'd had that tooth about 30 years. So long, Mr. Tooth.
The surgeon told jokes throughout the operation. This offended some of the people to whom I would later recount "The Funeral Procession of Mr. Tooth." Personally, for $1,000, I demand a show, and the jokes had better be good.
And they were. The surgeon also played some classic rock on his phone. (I chose classic rock. It seemed like something everyone in the room could enjoy.) I know I am satisfied with this particular medical professional because I woke up today still thinking "Paradise City" is a decent Guns N' Roses song. I went to a dentist last year, and I was thoroughly unsatisfied with the work. I still can't hear Simon and Garfunkel or Cat Stevens without flying into a fiery rage.
Afterward, the surgeon snapped a couple of pics of his handiwork.
"You better not be posting those to Snapchat," I remarked.
"I'm barely on Instagram," he replied.
I pulled out my phone to take a peek at my face and had one of those Jack Nicholson as the Joker moments.
"Don't worry about it," the surgeon reassured me. "With the STP T-shirt, you'll fit right in in The South."
I laughed. That's all there was left to do.
The surgeon offered me some Schedule II narcotics but then said I likely wouldn't need them and gave me ibuprofen. I'm not going to lie. I cried for two hours once the lidocaine wore off. The pain was excruciating. Apparently, I can't have any OxyContin because Oklahoma ate all of it. (I apologize for this unwarranted attack on the Sooner State.)
"Well, it's not like you're giving birth," my mom said during my second or third hysterical phone call.
Shut up, Mom. (And thanks for the $1,000.)
The pain vanished by morning. It's probably good the surgeon didn't give me any opiates lest they end up ground up on a glass-topped coffee table.
Anyway, the tooth extraction is the first of several rounds of unpleasant dental work yet to come. But why? I brush my teeth. I floss, goddamnit, and yet I look like the NASCAR reporter for Fox News. I'm pondering a trip to the thrift store for a NASCAR shirt. Let's take ironic hipster clothing to dangerous new frontiers.