Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Secondhand Teeth

Below is the abridged story that my dad wrote about the first and only time my grandfather ("Daddy") went to the dentist. My father grew up in northeast Texas, outside of Paris, which was made famous in the 80's by a Wim Wenders movie.

By the early ‘50s, Daddy’s teeth had rotted down to nubs. Nowadays, going to a dentist would be akin to going to a shoe store. But not in our household.

Once, Daddy chopped a 3” gash in the side of his head with an accidental blow from an ax while trying to catch a rabbit that had escaped into a hollow tree. That gash wasn’t serious enough to warrant medical attention, but when he could no longer eat corn-on-the-cob and fried rabbit, then matters were getting pretty serious. However, getting medical attention was no simple chore for us. We didn’t have an automobile, and all the medical professionals were in neighboring towns about 20 miles away.

So Daddy rode the bus to Clarksville and walked to the dentist’s office. He asked to have his teeth extracted and replaced with a set of false teeth without benefit of having made an appointment. This was the only time in his life that he'd visited a dentist.

The doctor presented a collection of false teeth. The fitting process took about thirty minutes, and finally they were satisfied with a set. Daddy was told that they would cost more than $100, plus the dental work. Now mind you, Daddy might have paid $200 for a good coon hound without even the blink of an eye, but $100 for a set of false teeth? No way. He asked the doctor for some cheaper sets, but he informed him that less expensive sets weren’t good quality.

"Let’s try some out anyway", was the reply, "I can’t afford the expensive sets."

After another lengthy round of teeth fitting, they were satisfied that a set of false teeth had been identified, and Daddy asked the doctor how much they cost? "$10." "How in God’s name could these false teeth be so much cheaper than all those others?", he asked.

"Because they’re second-hand teeth", came the reply.

We heard this story so often over the years without ever the slightest change in the way it was presented that Mama and I concluded that it had to be true. Nonetheless, in spite of satisfaction noted at the time of purchase, Daddy complained about how his false teeth fit and looked for the next 30 years, but he never went back to get replacements.

- Douglas "Bruner"
Now that's a good punchline. Are they even allowed to sell second hand teeth anymore?
Does anyone know the whereabouts of the teeth? If they remained in TX they could be on their 4th generation by now???
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