By Dennis Minich
This getting old stuff is getting old. It seems like just about every day another ache or pain comes along. I remember when occasional discomfort seemed otherworldly, but gradually the irritants spread. If it’s not arthritis in the fingers, it’s tweaking a back bending over (or getting out of bed). If it’s not late-night insomnia, its afternoon drowsiness. If it’s not enough fiber in the diet, it’s too much, both of which have unsettling results.
You know you are getting older when you have more doctors’ appointments on your calendar than you do business meetings. The last couple of weeks have been an example for me: cardiology stress test, optometrist, neurologist, dentist. And that’s not counting the primary care visits which seem to occur more and more frequently.
Some tests aren’t bad: going to the optometrist, I was able to get new glasses (which was a treat because I hated my old glasses.) With glasses you get to make a fashion statement as well as see better.
Other visits aren’t so fun, namely the dentist. There is nothing to enjoy about going to the dentist. In the best of cases you have two or three pairs of hands shoved into your mouth cleaning all of the gunk in and around your gums. In worse cases there are fillings, root canal procedures, deep cleanings or tooth pulling (if you can read those four terms in one sentence and not cringe, you are a stronger person than I.)
What really stinks about getting older is some of the benefits of negatives in the past no longer exist. My best example, a couple weeks ago I had to have a tooth removed. Not fun, but not the end of the world. And even better, it was my chance to pick up some quick cash from the tooth fairy. I know it’s been 55-plus years since I last dropped a molar under the pillow, but back then it was worth anything from a quarter to a dollar. I’ve heard of some kids getting $5 or $10, so I figured for a classic tooth, circa the 1960s the price would be considerably more. But two nights I put my tooth under the pillow and woke up the next morning to find nothing, nada, no cash, no coupons, not even an IOU.
Now people think they can take most of their complaints to the government and get answers, so my question is, which federal department oversees the tooth fairy’s fund? I mean, I pay taxes. I’ve paid into Social Security and Medicare and all those other programs all of my life and so now is it really so outlandish that I would expect a little cash back when I lose one of my chompers. I mean kids get cash all of the time, doesn’t it seem a little like discrimination their dislodged teeth are worth cash and I get zilch? I think this is a system that’s broken.
My dentist said it is possible the tooth fairy is backed up from COVID, but I am finding that excuse to be a getting a little old. Santa Claus made it through the pandemic (at least I have been told since I wasn’t good), the Easter Bunny did fine, so what’s up with this tooth-buying freak that it can’t take a few seconds under my pillow to pay me what I am due? Is too much to ask? I just had a thought, if the tooth fairy collects teeth, maybe I should just take my little yellowed piece of enamel and put it on eBay or something like that. Surely there is someone in this world that would spring a few bucks for my dislodged body part.
At least the tooth which was providing nothing but pain is gone and in its place is some kind of goo which feels in my mouth similar to Silly Putty (don’t ask how I know what Silly Putty feels like in your mouth, just trust me, I do.) My hope is I can get a good 50 or 55 years out of the replacement material and then I won’t be quite so likely to file a complaint with the used-tooth-collectors’ union.