I've always had a good set of teeth in my mouth, but during the past year, order is beginning to deteriorate. It's like society at the beginning of "Mad Max." Who knows? By the end of next year, my pearly whites might look more like "The Road Warrior." Even more terrifying would be "Mad Max: Beyond Thunder Dome." Bad movie.

OK, that was a bad metaphor, too. But sue me. My teeth are shifting in my head like Pangaea (better metaphor), and I'm not thinking straight. It's uncomfortable. In the last month, I've had a a tooth surgically removed and more visits to the dentist than I'd care to remember (six).

It's been interesting to watch people's eyes drift toward the dark gap in the front of my mouth during interviews. Usually, I'd just chock that up to paranoia, but it's happening, a fascinating lesson in sociology. The thousands of dollars it will cost to fix the tooth are worth it. Once one's teeth start dropping out, so do one's options.

On Monday, I had my first root canal, because the tooth next to the missing tooth is a bad tooth, a very bad tooth, and it had to go. I was grateful when the dentist took pity and prescribed opiate pain killers afterward. I cried for four hours following the surgical removal of the previous tooth. It was unmanly, and anyone who knows me knows I'm the pinnacle of manliness. (Hardy har.)


But I can't take schedule II narcotics at work. The pill I swallowed Monday night brought with it an odd urge to start a grunge band then kill myself at the height of my popularity. I need to type and have the end result not be a William S. Burroughs novel. Drooling at work is also frowned upon.

Anyway, also on Monday, a total solar eclipse passed over the United States. Much to my chagrin, all of the white supremacists, Nazis, polo shirt-clad alt-right bros and other assorted pasty-faced losers who've emerged from the orange rock they'd been hiding under didn't all kill themselves so they could hitch a ride on the mothership. Bummer.

But as terribly disappointing as the lack of mass Nazi suicide was, I was at least afforded the opportunity to see the eclipse. I went to the dentist's office Monday morning under the assumption that while I wouldn't see the moon pass in front of the sun, I would at the very least see stars as the electric drill sank into my jaw.

Interesting fact: I could see the handiwork inflicted on my tooth from the reflection of the magnifying lens hovering above my mouth. I haven't had that much metal stuck in my head since the CIA installed the implant.

Anyhow, the dentist had extra eclipse glasses, so we put the dental surgery on hold for 10 minutes so we could stand in the parking lot and crane our necks skyward. There it was in the sky, a big orange J, just for me and my Orioles cap.

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