By Mark David Blum. Esq.
It has finally come to an end so now I can tell the complete tale of me and my gold.
Those who follow my daily blatherings must recall that recently I underwent some serious dental surgery. My dear doctor, Mangele (sic), one day announced that I needed some major work done and that my face needed to be rearranged. O goodie; how fun! I immediately surrendered my retirement to him.
It started simple enough; pull seven teeth, dig some growth out of my gums, cut me open here, stitch me up there, pull here and grind there. The good doctor had suggested that we do these procedures over a period of time. Knowing full well that after the first one, I would never go back to that office, I convinced the dentist to do it all at once.
I planned for it. I cleared my calendar. I found a ride to and fro. And I had plenty of prescriptions to make sure I got there without exploding. Knowing too that all four quadrants of my mouth were going to be anesthetized, I smuggled in a pad of paper and marker in my hoodie pocket – just in case.
Well the work started. First came the needles – so many needles. Jab, stick, stab, prick, and lots of “ouch, shit that hurts” from me. Within fifteen minutes, it was more like “woobblubuslbbbublllwah”. Then it began. It was endless -- the pulling, the crunching, the slicing and dicing, the blood, the pain despite the meds, and that sound of drilling and shattering bone inside my head. At one point, the dentist was trying to drill off a cap which unlike a regular tooth, is made of false material and cement and the sounds reverberating in my skull reminded me of a major construction job. It was a new dental sound. There was only one thing I could do; bust up laughing. When they asked me to rinse and spit ... I just looked at them with a "are you fucking kidding me" look and proceeded to make a disgusting slobbering mess all over everything. They never dealt with a patient with all four quadrants numb at the same time. This was a first for the dentist too.
So there I am sitting in the chair with pipes and tubes and sucking things and wads of cotton and drills and fingers and molds and who knows what else all jammed in my mouth and I see two of the teeth laying dead on the dentist's little side table. I said “huflubbble dub mubbmew wsfprpfstpt”. He said “huh”, I repeated … “huflubbbled ub mubbmew wsfprpfstpt”. He said “huh” again. I yanked out my pad, which brought a laugh from the hot stripper assistant with the nice boobies in my face the whole time. I wrote, “I want my teeth” meaning I wanted him to save for me the teeth he was removing. The reason was clear. Behind all that blood, tissue, and bone, was a gold cap. I am a smart guy and a Jew and I knew that the gold caps had value. I wanted them; all four.
When this first session of pain and suffering ended and I got home, and after I was fully medicated and intoxicated, I unfurled the little glassine envelope given me by the dentist containing four full teeth with gold crowns. I then filled a glass with hydrogen peroxide and put the four golden suckers in the solution to get clean. Hydrogen peroxide will clean off everything from the teeth leaving nothing but a clean white sheen. The tissue and gunk and stains evaporated in about a week and I had four beautiful pieces of gold. There was only one thing to do; head to a jeweler.
The jeweler is a local business and I went in with my four now beautiful clean white teeth with gold crowns and inquired about the value and the process of converting the gold crowns to cash. Behind the counter is a young lady who says that I first have to remove all live tissue from the gold. I tell her about hydrogen peroxide and that the teeth are now so clean you could eat off them. She says that she cannot accept the gold with the teeth still attached. OK, fine – off I go to do some construction (destruction?) work to get the tooth out of the crown. The good news was that the jeweler told me the gold was 16 carat; so there was that.
Have you ever had the chance to look at a full tooth; top to root? Mine were really cool. Two had three pronged roots, two had only two prongs. Why is that, I wondered. On one hand, I wanted to keep them as neato souvenirs of this excellent adventure upon which I had embarked. On the other hand, gold is gold and money is well, one of life’s primary pursuits. Besides, I had already paid for the gold and I wanted my damn money back.
So, now the question arises – how do you remove a cemented on gold crown from a tooth? There is no easy answer that came to mind and so I went with what then seemed like a damn good idea. Take them outside near the woodpile, get a large log and turn it so it stand up on end, put the tooth down on the log, and whack it hard with a hammer. That, thought I, would shatter the bone leaving me with just the gold. Bone will shatter, gold will not. Good idea? Nah.
I put the first tooth down imagining this was going to be a one two three process. Lining it up and getting a good fix on the target, down came the hammer. Bam! Immediately thereafter, shooooooooom … the cap went flying off the stump and into the leaves. Only some shattered bone remained on the stump. I searched and searched a good half hour or more for this small piece of gold amidst leaves everywhere. Money, after all, is money. Nada.
Getting smarter is what monkeys do, so after a period of mourning the lost gold, I set off to get the next one. This time, I wrapped the tooth in a towel before I whacked it. (Never go anywhere without your towel). The tooth shattered alright, but only to the point of the crown. Inside the gold was plenty of tooth remaining. Recovering the tooth, I whacked and whacked and clobbered and smacked until I had enough. Looking again at my prize inside the towel, there was the gold filled with tooth. No damage to gold or tooth. Shit! Same with the other two teeth. I was able to get rid of all the tooth material except that which was cemented inside the crown. No matter how much force I brought to bear, the tooth and cement inside the crowns would not shatter and come out. Smh.
On my next visit to the dentist, I share my tale of woe and whoa, including the tooth in the leaves, and the hammering away fruitlessly. He though it was funny and then said he would have someone drill them out for me while he continued to pound hammer chisel and drill away at my face. The assistant came in later with my gold and told me that had I used a simple drill, I could have removed the material easy. A drill. Wow, why didn’t I think of that?
Grabbing my gold and clutching it tight, I suffered the rest of the dental visit and returned back home. The healing process, the holidays, and overall general laziness prevented me from attempting to cash in the gold until Friday last. Into the jeweler I went, sharing the story of the lost gold in the leaves and all that I went through. The total weight was 7 pennyweight (whatever that means) and which in the end, translated into 2 new crisp shiney one hundred dollar bills. Yay, free money. Two hundred bucks; that should buy me some gas and a soda.
I left the jeweler to go take a long lawyer’s lunch at the home of a friend. Not even five minutes after I got there, I remembered I forgot something outside in the car. Out I went and as I tugged on the passenger door handle of the car, the plastic broke and the door handle was useless. I just got $200.00 free dollars and within an hour, I got a big unexpected bill.
Yesterday was the day that the car was to be repaired. I worked all morning, stopped suddenly and drove off to the repair shop, was told to come back in about an hour, walked across the street, and plopped my ass down in a bar to wait. I had soda and wings (it was a work day so no intoxicants) and eventually got my car back.
Total bill: $198.87. To the cashier, I told the story of the teeth and gold and the $200 and my car breaking not even an hour after getting the money and how the same $200 I was handing her were the two bills I got from the jeweler. Laughing as she handed me my dollar thirteen change, she said, “here, you can at least afford to go get some coffee”.
So it is all over. My bionic mouth is ready to bite harder than ever before. The wounds have healed, I have weaned myself off the narcotics (miss those babies), and have a new passenger door handle on a ten year old car. But hey, at least I got my coffee. Pure comedy gold.