Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Travelling Tooth Fairy

Husband has been off on one of his periodic business trips, this time encompassing a week up in Asia – he travels often enough for the glamour of travel to have begun to tarnish so far as he is concerned, whereas I find even the thought of check in a positive excitement. I’m sure some of this passion for flying comes from a childhood immersed in a steady diet of the Biggles books – I loved the way that Biggles plus his sidekicks Ginger and Algy streaked their way across the skies and through adventure with a careless ease that made equal light of German bullets and engine failure over the Congo. By the time I was a teenager I’d moved on to Arthur Hailey and ‘Airport’ and become a junkie for the logistics of airports.

However before I get too distracted by airport fiction I have read, though I do have to mention a classic called “Air Hostess Ann’, a story that more than lived up to its alliterative promise, I should get back on Husband’s track. He was in the midst of a week typified by the feeling of ‘It’s Tuesday, where am I?’ as he clocked up meetings, planes and countries at a frightening rate. Checking into a hotel in a new country late at night he apparently opened his suitcase, pulled out his socks – note rolled into snails by his devoted housekeeper of a wife, though with no guarantee of matching pair, and something else fell out of the case. As he bent to pick it up he realised it was a human tooth. Being by nature, cautious and a complete hypochondriac, he immediately felt round his mouth to check he hadn’t managed to spit out a tooth without noticing!! As one who has just endured two hours in the chair having hideous things done to my teeth in the name of dental longevity I find it incredible that anyone can begin to think you don’t notice a tooth falling out.

Having ascertained there were no unexplained gaps in his mouth, his next thought apparently was that perhaps it had fallen out of one of the customs men’s mouths during a baggage inspection– again my eyes boggled at this one. You can expect piercing screams echoing round the customs hall should I even suspect any official to be on the point of scattering teeth in the direction of my luggage.

Once I had stopped laughing, wifely sympathy obviously being my strong point, we decided that the tooth was probably one of the Drama Queens’ baby teeth that I must have shoved in my jeans pockets or the like, though looking at the thing – as obviously he brought it back and tenderly placed it on my bedside table, it looks distinctly large for a child’s tooth. I suppose the upside is that at least even if unidentified it is only a tooth – just think of the horrors of finding other body parts in your luggage.

Have to raise my hand and say I am not keen on teeth. One of the professional hazards of my job working with primary school children is that they are always loosing teeth and baring bleeding gums or threatening to wiggle teeth that are quite obviously hanging on by the proverbial thread. Like most mothers I kept the first few teeth of each child, somehow throwing them out seemed like a desecration, but now finding the cache of dental relics makes me shudder. However I am sure I am not alone in having egg cups and little boxes stuffed with teeth around the place, perhaps it’s time for tooth throw out day – an event that is definitely going to include the unidentified incisor.

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