“Be honest, is it bad?” I gingerly grinned at the Turk, exposing my front tooth.
He bent down, tilted his head left and right. “It is not that bad. I mean, it is not good but I think no one notice if you don’t tell.”
I ducked into the 1st floor powder room, the one with the fabulous purple walls and paintings of cats in trucker hats, and immediately began practicing my new closed-mouth smile. I looked like I was seven years-old but it was either this new no-teeth-revealed grin or the possibility of death. Pandemic choices suck.
The route I’d taken to this moment was nothing short of a tour in stupidity led by no one but me. For the majority of my life I’ve danced over the line between vegetarian and mild omnivore on the reg. I’ll be a solid veg-head for years until one day mama needs meat. The problem is, when I come off the veg wagon, I go hard and scarf down meat like a T-Rex on a bender. No surprise, 2020 pushed me over the edge and suddenly, Mama’s raging on a meat bender.
So, when my darling son left his plate of chicken wings unattended last Friday, Mama-Rex couldn’t help but snag one. But honestly, who can say no the hot, juicy, greasy joy of a Buffalo wing? Not this chunky gal, that’s for sure. As I shoved that wing into my salivating mouth and bit down I was ready for the burst of sweet, spicy pleasure to take over. (Is this why people do drugs? Oh lord, am I a buffalo wing junkie?) But instead of joy my body immediately filled with horror. I felt the crack. Then the chip. Then that terrifying feeling that you’ve just bit down on a rock. I rushed to my purple powder room to inspect the damage only to find a solid chip out of my front tooth. My fat ass chipped a damn tooth trying to steal a chicken wing. The irony was not lost on me at all.
Thoughts of Mama Cass flooded my psyche. (If you don’t know Mama Cass you’re a child. Goog her. She’s a legend.) Perhaps it’s an urban legend that she died choking on a chicken bone but my maternal grandmother Dink always warned, “be careful eating that chicken, you don’t want to end up like Mama Cass.” Ok, so Mama Cass ended up dead and I only had a chipped chomper but I felt connected to that woman 100%.
“What am I going to do?” I whined to the Turk moments after the incident.
“I guess you have to go to dentist.”
“Obvi, but what about the ‘Rona?”
“I guess we trust they take care.” He was very unconvincing. Partially because he isn’t really a fan our dentist and partially because he was standing on a ladder in the bathroom trying to rewire the exhaust fan simultaneously. My chipped tooth was of little interest to him. Thankfully his electrical work prevented him from asking for a blow by blow of the incident. I had no need to confess to my husband how I had really committed this atrocity.
Hesitant, I left an after-hours message with the dentist and prepared myself for a Monday appointment. But by Sunday I wasn’t feeling it. Was it chipped? Yes. Did it look bad? Oh, hells yeah. But I’d had a root canal on the same tooth years ago after taking a Thomas the Tank Engine to the front tooth by a post-surgical Nugget so there was no health danger. Was I ready to sit in an office, mouth open, sucking in germs during a pandemic with an airborne virus just to get it fixed? Maybe not. Perhaps I would just never open my mouth again. Practical right? At least I might finally lose that quarantine fifteen.
Sunday night I had fitful sleep. In my dreams Steve Martin was reprising his role of the sadistic dentist from Little Shop of Horrors above me while Covid germs permeated the air and catapulted themselves into my gaping mouth. I’d wake from one nightmare, walk around to brush it off, then return to pick up with another. I died at least three times that night and was near death more than I could count. By the time I woke up, I was convinced that this chipped tooth was going to be my death sentence. Was I really prepared to leave my beautiful babies to suffer through a future with The Turk? He can barely get them dinner when I leave it in the Crock-Pot.
As we sipped our coffee, I dropped the bomb. “I can’t go. If I go to the dentist I will die.”
“I agree.” He took a long sip from his little Yoda mug. That’s the thing about marriage, while being opposites is great, it’s always good to have a spouse that shares your same level of crazy.
He put Yoda back on the counter, “I think it ok you can wait. We are red zone. It is very dangerous to go now. Plus, you see nobody but us and if you go out, you wear mask. No one can see.”
My Turk made a very good point. This whole mask thing could be my vanity’s savior. While maskholes argue about fabric face coverings impeding their personal freedoms, I’ve always been all in because: 1: I believe in science. 2. I believe in protecting society and 3. Most importantly, those masks hide a double chin like nobody’s business, and I will take that all day long. Now, as an added bonus that mask is going to hide my snaggle tooth until this virus subsides enough for me to get to the dentist.
After some practice in the purple powder room mirror, I’ve resigned myself to my new look. I’m sure it would be considered nothing in some places (I’m lookin’ at you Kentucky, ) just know that the minute we are no longer in a danger zone, my ass is in that dentist chair.
2020, the year that just keeps giving.