Tuesday, September 16, 2008


This past Saturday was a really good day for me in many respects: all of my children won their soccer games, all of my favorite NCAA football teams won their games as well, and the weather in Oregon was blue-skies and sunshine with temperatures in the low 90's. Sounds like a perfect September day, right? Wrong....

Late in the evening I was relaxing in my favorite recliner, reflecting on the many wonders of the day while innocently eating a bowl of ice-cream, when all of a sudden I bit down on something hard. I was momentarily confused. Why, I asked myself, is there something hard in my mouth? This is not chunky ice-cream...there shouldn't be any nuts or candy bits...it's just plain vanilla. Then it donned on me: My Ice-Cream Has A Foreign Object In It! I ran as fast as I could to the sink to spit out whatever disgusting chunk had infiltrated my dessert.

My wife and kids, who were also eating ice-cream, watched intently as I cleaned the melted cream from off the small, jagged object that came flying out of my mouth. That's when I nearly vomited. "A human tooth!" I shouted in disgust. "Ben and Jerry's let a human tooth get into their ice-cream! Into MY ice-cream!!"

Everyone put their bowls down and groaned, then scrambled over to study the tooth in the sink. For several minutes we bemoaned the fact that I had just been chewing on someone else's tooth. We were all horrified. As a proud, former Vermonter (where Ben & Jerry's is made), my mind was already racing with ideas about how I would break the news to Ben and/or Jerry...and how much free ice-cream they would be supplying the Milne family as compensation for my horrific ordeal.

But alas...it wasn't meant to be. Once the initial shock wore off, my wife asked me if I was sure it wasn't my own tooth. My tooth?? I would know if I broke my own tooth, right...My tongue started probing around inside my mouth. There would be pain, there would be blood, there would be a hole where my tooth used to...."Oh crud," I groaned, louder than before as my tongue found the new space in my mouth. "This is going to cost me a fortune at the dentist!" It was my own, dumb tooth...well sort of. To be more exact, it was a crown I'd gotten about a year ago. It turns out they used a defective porcelain material, and it just fell apart in the cold of the ice-cream.

It ruined the rest of my perfect weekend. And today, as I sat in the dentist's chair gagging on Novocain, yet another day was ruined. Even as I type, there is a drip of saliva running helplessly down the numb side of my mouth. Those who know me best know that my own father is an oral surgeon, so I grew up around dental practitioners. I certainly love my father, and hold no ill-will against dentists as individuals, but as I consider the high-pitched whine of the dental drill, the neck-ache from titling my head "just so", the choking on quick-curing mold compounds, the shots, the poking, the chiseling, the spitting, and of course, the insane cost of a simple crown, I can't deny that I am, and always will be, an anti-dentite. Sorry, dad. :-)

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