Wry Side

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UPFRONT -

Columnists Mike O’Con­nor & Mary-Rose MacColl

We strive to ap­pear cool and calm at all times but there are oc­ca­sions when you just want to cry. I was at lunch with a busi­ness ac­quain­tance and my chicken salad had just ar­rived. Nod­ding in agree­ment with a point he’d just made, I took a mouth­ful and crunch! I’d bit­ten on some­thing hard and unyield­ing.

I took my servi­ette and, dab­bing del­i­cately at my lips, felt for the of­fend­ing ob­ject and re­moved it sur­rep­ti­tiously from my mouth. There was a slight clink as I placed it on my plate and, glanc­ing down, saw what ap­peared to be a small stone. A closer look showed it to be half a tooth. Then I re­mem­bered the words of the den­tist who had done root canal work on that same tooth a month pre­vi­ously: “It might last an­other year but no longer,” he said.

“What do you think about what I pro­pose?” asked my lunch part­ner, obliv­i­ous to my sud­den plight. “I thunk youf pro­fa­bly fight,” I said. Had I suf­fered a stroke? Sud­denly I was in­ca­pable of co­her­ent speech. “Par­don?” he said. “I thed youf fight,” I re­peated. “I see,” he said, look­ing at me strangely. “Ex­cooth me,” I said, and headed for the bath­room where, grin­ning into the mir­ror, I saw what would prob­a­bly be a $2000 gap in my smile. An­other man en­tered the room, took one look at me grin­ning at my­self in the mir­ror and locked him­self in a cu­bi­cle. I ex­ited and re­turned to the ta­ble. If I didn’t smile, no-one would no­tice the miss­ing tooth. l also had to limit my con­ver­sa­tion to grunts and nods as ev­ery time I went to speak, my tongue got stuck in the gap.

“How was lunch?” asked my wife when I got home. “Fan­fas­tic,” I said, pick­ing up the phone and di­alling the den­tist.

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