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Sunday, November 18, 2007

THE AWFUL TOOTH

Q: What do I have in common with the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain?

A: We both contain significant quantities of titanium.

While the Guggenheim got it's titanium from its world famous architect, I got mine from an oral surgeon in Oregon.

Many months ago, one of my molars crumbled to bits inside my mouth in a scene I was positive was a dream until I got the dentist bill months later. Upon further inspection, dentists realized that I had two teeth that needed to be removed... a sad byproduct of my impoverished days in the 1990s where I was spending my money on food (which decays your teeth) rather than dental care (which keeps your teeth from rotting).

In the months since I had those teeth extracted, I've been spending my time healing and assembling sums of money the size of which could be used to buy a small car. Instead, I'm buying new teeth. And the first step happened on Friday.

What happened was this, some surgeon put me to sleep, then screwed titanium rods into my jaw. The idea is that bone will grow around these rods and then they'll put in the new teeth... made out of a diamond-like substance!

The new grill will have to wait a few more weeks, but the titanium is in, and I guess it kind of suits me. After I was woken up from my 2 hour surgery, the nurses said, "you did great!"

Great? I just lied there unconscious for 2 hours. But I was great. Everyone has to have a talent, and I guess mine is allowing people to screw titanium into my skull.

I'm only half joking. I've had an amazing recovery. I had two painkillers Friday night (oh, the hallucinations I had) but that's it. I had almost no swelling, so I actually was on TV Saturday, just 24 hours after I surgery. So perhaps I really am good at being operated upon.

Next up, the actual teeth. I've spent so long with these gaps in my mouth that I don't know how to truly smile anymore. I'm sure if I pay them a few thousand more they'll teach me that, too.

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