No Denture Blues Here

 Well, today I'm happy because I still have all of my teeth.

You see, it dawned on me the other day when I was feeling sorry for myself that I should be happier than bacon snuggled up against an over easy egg because even at age 72 I continue to have a full set of choppers.

Now, any New Agers, yoga teachers, Zen Buddhists, Positive Thinkers, or Enlightened Baptists reading this might be tempted to tell me, "Chet, there's nothing unusual these days about having your teeth in your Golden Years because mentally you're still a Spring Chicken, and if you Think Young you'll Be Young and your body will be young."

Yeah, right.

Tell that to my prostate at 2 a.m. and again at 4:45 a.m. every night when I have to get up to pee.

Speaking of pee, during my thirty years as a Navy Seal I would pee on the painful stings I would occasionally get when I couldn't out-swim a jellyfish. Whizzing on those stings never eased the pain a bit, of course, but doing so always did cause my bladder to emit a sigh of relief. (Yes, it's the same sigh I experience at 2 a.m. and again at 4:45 a.m. every night now as a Golder Ager, btw.)

Speaking of bladders, I bet you already knew your bladder was a hollow organ created by either the Good Lord Above or the Evolutionary Flow Below and that it was designed (please, don't read any kind of philosophical or spiritual commitment on my part into this word choice) to hold urine.

You may not, however, know what I learned today at "As the bladder fills, nerve signals are sent to the brain. Once it is full, those signals from the bladder are responded to by messages to the muscles of the urethra to relax and the muscles of the bladder to contract and squeeze. If all the signals are in the proper order, you have a normal urination… hopefully in the toilet. Although we don't control our kidneys, we do have control over our bladders."

Well, wow, that's wonderful to know, isn't it?

Especially the part about a normal urination taking place in the toilet. With my usual sense of decorum, I'll spare you any speculations on other places where a normal urination might occur.

But that part of the citation did have some scientific teeth to it, didn't it?

Oh yeah, right. 

Back to teeth.

You see, when I was a kid in the 50's -- that would be the 20th century 50's and not the 19th's -- all the old people in my extended farm family usually started our evening meals by adjusting their dentures.

That was especially true if Ma and Grandma were serving corn on the cob or walnuts with carrot sticks and peanut brittle. My God, you wouldn't believe the sound of wooden teeth clamping down on wooden teeth during these meals. Talk about a symphony!

And the night time rituals with the dentures worn by my extended family of oldsters...

Oh mercy, what memories I have of those rituals.

Watching old Gramps Day use his upside down index and middle fingers to pop the upper plate off his gums and out of his mouth before dropping said plate into a glass of bubbling Alka-Seltzer. 

Oh me, sweet memories are made of this.

Speaking of Alka-Seltzer, did you know the stuff bubbles the way it does because it contains citric acid and baking soda? Well, when you drop the tablet in water, the acid and the baking soda get all pissed off because of some kind of weird chemical reaction and consequently fizz all over the place, making that delightful sound that's only delightful if you're not about to drink the stuff because of a throbbing hangover headache.

Speaking of hangovers, according to an article on, "When you drink alcohol, your liver produces a toxin called acetaldehyde, which is the culprit for that awful hangover and is said to be 10-30 times as toxic as alcohol. According to various studies, this toxin is the reason you sweat, become nauseous, and vomit after a night of drinking."

Well, the above explanation contains several of the main reasons I stick to spring water and Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream rather than six or eight icy cold cans of Foster's Lager beer when I need hydration.

Speaking of hydration, the wet stuff that occurs naturally in your mouth (you know: the sticky moist liquid that drools all over your pillow at night if you sleep with your lips open or moan between snores) is called saliva.

We all need saliva to defend our teeth from decay.

Yes, even you!

Saliva, you see, not only washes away poorly chewed food, but it also helps you swallow without gagging or throwing up all over the dining room table. Keep in mind that gagging or throwing up on the dining room table is still frowned upon in polite society.

Yes, that's true... even in these terrible days of so many angry men and women you meet at the supermarket who wouldn't understand polite if you offered them a free surgery-safe face mask that retails for $75 a pop.

Anyway, saliva -- because it contains calcium, phosphate, and fluoride -- helps your mouth stay wet, and if you have a wet mouth you're less at risk for having all your teeth pulled by some possibly half-crazed man or woman with plier-like instruments for, these days, somewhere between $185 and $650 for soft-tissue and complicated surgical extractions!

And that's not even factoring in the cost of a set of upper and lower denture plates.

As an aside for those thinking about adding dentures to their mouths, these days a complete set of new choppers here in America will run you between $600 and $1000. If cost conscious or just plain cheap, you can knock the price down to around $380 to $490 by purchasing from a dentist in Tijuana, Mexico. Prices may be even more palatable (so to speak) in lesser known parts of the Third World.

Well, anyway, it's time for me to stop and go brush and floss my beautiful set of old choppers that continue to serve me well. In fact, they're serving me so well these days I may even eat an entire bowl of bacon Jell-O for dessert tonight.

(P.S. On a personal note, I'm still adjusting to life without my sweet wife and occasionally I get the blues. I've found I can flush those nasty old blues down the toilet if I try to write something funny. Thus, today's blog post, which I hope does evoke a smile or two. Oh, speaking of toilets, did you know that... never mind. I'll save that one for another day.)


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