Tuesday, January 2, 2018

"Martini Teeth" by Tosh Berman




Due to my extensive dental surgery, I can only drink my dinners at this time.  My dentist suggested that since I'm already an alcoholic, I should just sip cocktails that have some food attached to it.  Which means, of course, the olive vodka martini, which is made correctly at TAIX Restaurant and bar in Echo Park.   Right between the drink and focusing on much as possible a book I brought with me to the bar, Andre Hodeir on Classical music after Debussy, it struck me how hard the bartender works, as well as the waitresses.   Personally, I have always been served well in this establishment.  I also ordered navy bean soup since it was a Thursday, and rightfully so, a Thursday which is Navy Bean Soup day.   I can never fully understand the connection between the Navy and bean soup, but I never question these things in front of a busy bartender.



I had a rough day.  I lost a temporary cap on my tooth, which makes it impossible for me to chew my food.  The thing has I had the perfect 'soft' burrito in front of me, and I felt a hard substance in my mouth, which was odd because I'm eating just a bean burrito.  I discovered it was my tooth cap, which carefully I didn't swallow, due that I put my fingers in my mouth among the bean material to remove the object.  It takes about 30 seconds to realize that something is drastically wrong, and then my temper came up.  I wanted to have a quick lunch before I shot my "Tosh Talks" episode on Jean-Luc Godard's film soundtrack music.  I was in such a state that Lun*na wanted to know if I want to postpone the filming.   I said go on.  Strange enough, I think this is the best "Tosh Talks" show ever.  Lun*na mentioned that my voice was loud and very clear.  I think all of this was due to my anger of losing the temporary cap.



After the show, I contacted my dentist who told me, even though she's on holiday, to come to her office at 5:30 this afternoon.   I did and met her at the parking lot because it seems the front door was shut due to construction work on the building.  I was a concern because when a car approached the parking lot, I didn't want to think whoever in that car thought I was a perv waiting in the darkness.   Luckily in the vehicle was my dentist and her almost adult daughter.  She took me through the back entrance which led to the employee's kitchen and sometimes storage room for outdated customers with their x-rays of teeth.   The whole dental office was under construction or remodel job of some sort, and therefore I didn't have to go to the dental chair, but the kitchen chair in the employee's room.

When I lost and obtained my temporary crown, I was immediately impressed with the horrible scent of my cap. It smelled like a dead rodent in my crown, but the fact is, my tooth, as busted as it was, felt like the dead animal lived there under a witness protection secrecy program from the Department of Justice.   Still, I was fascinated with the wretched scent of my cap, and wondered if perhaps all tooth caps smelled the same way?  



I sat down among the wires, plastic coverings, and industrial dust in their kitchen area.  Luckily I didn't feel any pain, but just awkwardness in chewing and my self-regard concerning my face.  I thought I had a vacancy between my mouth and everyone looking at me will be aware of my ugliness.   Ever since I was a young boy, I felt like an alien because other kids my age would comment on my oddly shaped teeth.  It wasn't until I reached into my 60s when I decided to get my teeth fixed. The irony is, I will probably be dead before the work is finished.   Still, a corpse with a good mouth is something people will remember me by. I'm just hoping that the casket will be open during the funeral procedure.

As I left the dentist office, I became more aware of how vulnerable I'm to other's opinions on my physical appearance. To dwell on the negativity is an endless amount of ocean of regret.  I choose to go into the darkness of the night and gently chew whatever is out there.

- Tosh Berman, Los Angeles, January 2, 2018
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