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.