For me, it has become the moment that every senior (or incipient senior) dreads - that time when one's own teeth must give way to the modern marvels of dentistry. My paternal family has always had a genetic predisposition to bad teeth (my father used to claim that the condition is known as acidic saliva - as to that, I can't say), I have had more than my share of misery over the years, including abscesses and impactions, and I have had quite enough.
Through the years and visits, my dentition has come to resemble the inside of an amalgam mine (did you know that amalgam is composed partly of mercury, a substance known to be poisonous in large quantities? I should properly be dead) and I am certain that I have put a few dentists' children through college.
The latest folly involved the dislodgement of an amalgam insert and the snapping off of a goodly portion of tooth remnant, leaving a knife's edge and a spear point which lacerate and penetrate my tongue each time I attempt to chew or swallow. I am at present sipping soup and coffee through a straw (laugh if you must) and a 3-stick wad of gum lodges in the gaping cavity and covers the offending hypodermic of enamel, until I can prevail upon some kindly dentist to remove from my mouth every last one of these instruments of torture.
It will not be easy. Most have insisted that all I require is a partial bridge to make all as good as new. No. I want them all gone, so that I might never after be bedeviled by bouts of agony. If I am very lucky, I will locate the kindly and compassionate soul who will agree to release me from pain, and I will have, at long last, relief.
And eventually, when I can eat solid food again, my inaugural meal will be prime rib with a liberally buttered baked potato and freshly grilled vegetables.