The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth…

It’s been a quiet day on the plumbing front.

Dave arrived – on his own – at  11 o’clock.  When I asked about Eric,   Dave puffed out his cheeks, winced as if a wasp had stung him somewhere vital, and told me that Eric was no longer ‘part of the team’.

Apparently, he’s had enough of the plumbing trade and has decided to become an artist instead.

It’s a bit of a career leap, but, though I don’t like to say it to Dave, who looks genuinely downcast, I doubt he’s a loss to the world of bathroom installation.   He’s possibly no great gain to the art world, either, but fortunately that’s not my concern.

I had to pop out in the afternoon. A dental appointment.  Two weeks ago I was told an upper molar needed filling and today was the day.

My dentist – a Mr Grip – is a cheerful chap who enjoys the sound of his own voice.  He insists on talking to me about goodness knows what throughout the procedure.  As much of the work is done with a drill thundering away inside my mouth, I fail to catch a word he says.

Afterwards,  as I drink from a cup of pink water  –  my reward for helping to fund his retirement gîte in France  –  Mr Grip says he fears my tooth could ‘devitalise’ in the near future.

I don’t quite catch this first time round and ask him to repeat himself.  Well, to be blunt, I hear him perfectly well, but can’t believe my ears.

‘You mean it could die?’ I ask.

For once, a cheery grin eludes him and he seems seriously discomfited.  ‘Well, I wouldn’t look at it like that,’ he says.

‘How should I look at it?’ I inquire.  I half-expect he will tell me I should think of it as going to a better place.  But he doesn’t.

‘Let’s keep our fingers crossed and see how things turn out,’ he says.

There was a time when, if you went to see the dentist,  he set about you like a pig in an abattoir.  (The first one I ever had, as a boy, stunk of garlic and always had a cigarette dangling from his lips.)   But they didn’t mince their words and,  when a tooth had to be pulled, would cheerfully whack a rubber mask across your face and gas you till you squealed.

(I always saw Jesus coming for me when I was under, so it was an odd experience in many ways.)

Still, at least you could respect your dentist – much as a condemned soul thinks well of the axe-man on spotting the size of his blade.

Now they tell you your tooth could ‘devitalise’; then cross their fingers and hope for the best.

No wonder the nation is going to the dogs.

When I get home, at just gone 4, Dave has left for the day.   I pop my head into the bathroom and notice that the sink has gone and there are no walls to speak of.   Just lots of empty space, timbers and gaps where piping used to be.

I wonder if Eric has painted anything today.  I don’t suppose he has.

Thought for the Day

‘My mother-in-law has a razor-sharp mind.  If it dropped to her neck, I’d be a happy man.’   Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)


About Chester Crump

Chester J Crump has spent a lifetime in cheese. His company, CC Cheese Ltd, was voted Door to Door magazine’s ‘Smallest Retailer of the Year’ from 1985-2007. Cheddar Today described him as ‘Chester Crump, aged 45’, while the UK’s most successful broadsheet, The Daily Telegraph, has never mentioned him at all. In his spare time, and under a completely different name, Chester has written gags and sketches for a wide range of TV and radio shows both in the UK and mainland Europe (BBC1, ITV, S4C, Radio 2, Radio 4 and the World Service – among others). A published writer for children, teenagers and adults, he has also performed stand-up comedy across Yorkshire and, in 2011, at the Edinburgh Fringe. Ten years ago, he was rumoured to be the constant companion of Sarah Michelle Gellar – TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, more recently, that girl out of EastEnders whose name no one can remember. When he’s not writing his blog, Chester attends second-hand hat conventions, and has what many believe to be the largest collection of used headgear in Yorkshire. He is married to a woman, and lives in a house. All the above is completely true – with the possible exception of the bits about cheese. And Buffy. And EastEnders. And hats.
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