The Sweetest Words

All right, so here are some of the sweetest, most enjoyable words in the English language to utter: I told you so. I remember, with great pleasure, the times I’ve said those exact words to my husband.

But life is fickle and sometimes you find yourself on the receiving end of those same words. Good lord, what pain and humiliation. Even when they aren’t spoken aloud, you know when you’ve fucked up and it’s your own damned fault, since you didn’t pay attention when somebody else told you so.

He told me so! Those words kept ricocheting around in my head this morning, smashing from one corner of my mind into another. He told me this could happen!

The person in question, who’s too nice a guy to gloat, is my dentist. For years, he warned me about the ancient amalgam fillings in my mouth. Better get them taken out, he urged, and new and pretty crowns put in. At some point, the old fillings would crater and I’d have a crisis in my mouth.

Yeah, but who has the time or money for elective crowns? Not me. I said I’d take my chances. It worked out just fine till I bit into that cakeball at the movie theater two nights ago. (A cakeball! Not a pecan or a lobster shell or a baguette, which would have allowed me some dignity, at least. Oh, no. Listen, if you’re in bad enough shape to  break a tooth on a cakeball, you’re what my torts professor would have called an “eggshell plaintiff.” The only thing worse than encountering an eggshell plaintiff is being one.)

Anyway, my sunny-tempered dentist is shipping me off to a periodontist who will see whether I am a good candidate for an implant to fill the cavern-sized hole in my mouth. In just 48 hours, I have gone from being a normal, hungry person at the movies to being a candidate for an implant. Somewhere, a cup is running over.

Then, if I’m good enough for an implant, my dentist will eventually pop a crown on my fake tooth. Since I’ve decided to shed my other two ancient amalgams, I believe I will be going steady with my dentist for a few months — or at least supporting him for a while.

Still, he didn’t say he told me so; I just repeated the mantra to myself several dozen times, since I do like to rub in sentiments like that whenever necessary.

And speaking of which — just to prove that I’m not completely self-involved and my world is somewhat larger than my own mouth — I’d like to say something else, some bracingly sweet words to a man I’ve never met, but have thought and obsessed about for years.

You finally got what you deserved, Osama Bin Laden. How nice to think — at last — there’s some justice in this world.

(Copyright 2011 by Ruth Pennebaker)


9 comments… add one
  • I cracked a crown while eating marshmallows once.

  • Chris Link

    Broke a tooth while eating canned soup. Broke one of my last remaining amalgam filled teeth this past February and finally got to the dentist on Saturday. A crown is in my future.

  • Ouch. I hope all the dental stuff works out. No fun at all.

  • Cindy A Link

    I disagree (maybe for the first time!) as I believe the sweetest words in existence are “You were right” when uttered by someone else, even sweeter when oozing with contrition.

  • Oh, Ruth. Ow. There’s little that’s worse than dental work. Though I have to say, I’ve been told by a number of people that getting rid of that mercury amalgam is good for your health. Can you look at it from that perspective? Silver lining and all that?

  • I’m with Cindy, above. One of my favorite phrases to say these days, took me a while to get there, is: “I stand corrected.” Owning up to being wrong is freeing, it turns out. Who knew?

  • Is it now necessary to apply a crown to a fake tooth? Tell me, “No.” Does that mean I must have my dentures crowned too? Have mercy! Where will it all end? Of course, in the end I will get the last laugh, I’m certain. I’ve already buried two of my dentists, you know. By the way, if you’re planning to go steady with your dentist, don’t expect candy along with those Valentine flowers. But if you’re a real cutie, you might discover a Waterpik nestled in the bouquet.

  • Lorna Link

    What is a cakeball?

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    A cakeball is a piece of cake that’s small, round, and covered with icing. Breaking a tooth on one of them is similar to breaking a tooth on cotton candy.

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