A sense of foreboding, sadness, apprehension. Shortly I will be leaving to go to the dentist for the extraction of a molar from my lower left jaw. I’ve already managed to put off the procedure once, but it is the day of reckoning and I must say farewell to a trusted friend.
This is not just any molar, but the important one in the middle, the one that’s led the way through family feasts, cream teas, dîners à deux, the explorations of olives, kumquats and pomegranates.
I’m not sure the tooth fairy will be able to stump up adequate recompense. If the molar is stuffed under my pillow tonight, I will expect a thick wodge of notes tomorrow morning – enough for Eurostar to
, or robust domestic appliance, or delicately
carved mandolin. Paris
Not that I wish for the remains of the tooth to be placed ceremoniously into my hands in any case, even if it were to be extracted in one neat piece. It might engender the kind of horror I frequently feel at the dentist. In fact, rule three on my random and varied list of Ten Things to Keep You (Sort Of) Sane Throughout Life concerns being in the dentist’s chair:
3. While having a tooth filled, never, ever, allow your tongue to stray over the area your dentist has just drilled out.
Bits of ex-molar in my palm may just be a one souvenir too many.
But the imminent loss of my tooth, and the acute reluctance to give it up remind me that today there are people who will be facing so much more: surgery to surrender parts of their body for life-saving reasons. For once, there is just a glimpse, a smidgeon, a flash of humble kinship.