When I was just a young boy I was in an ongoing and titanic war with my older brother, Fred. He had two years on me, but due to the vagaries of our birth-dates we were only one grade apart, and while he was, then, an inch or three taller, I was stockier, and probably out-weighed him.
We spent a lot of our time in pitched-battle, rolling on the floor, trying to punch each other’s lights out. One time, I think I was around four, we battled at the top of the steps of my parents’ small tilted house. I tumbled ass-over-teakettle down a flight of steps and, it seemed, landed square on one of my lower front teeth. This was probably 1960 or 1961.
About ten years after that fight, residual damage sent me in to have a root canal on the same tooth. And about five or seven years after that, a foul-tip when I was horsing around behind the plate when I played for the Seraperos, caught my lower jaw and further damaged the already traumatic tooth.
Today, early, as I write this, I am seeing the dental equivalent of the College of Cardinals to rectify the tooth once and for all. Since mid-June, I have been going to various peri and endo dontists and subject to poking, prodding, scraping, gouging, drilling and more drilling as they attempt to reverse the deadness that started back when John Kennedy was president and the country was filled more with hope than with hate.
This restorative process will continue into the Fall and then the Winter, and perhaps some time around 2017, if I haven’t perished from over-work, I will have a gleaming new tooth courtesy of the aforementioned –dontists and the wonders of polymer chemistry.
Until then, I may be smiling less than usual and talking through my lips more than usual. Not being unfriendly. Just hiding my not inconsiderable dark side.