Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You're Getting Old Tim

My mouth open, waiting, a bright light at the bottom of my peripheral vision.

'You're getting old, Tim.' He says, 'Give Tim the mirror so I can show him what's going on.'

The dental hygenist hands me the mirror as Dr. Giaimo prods my teeth, 'See that hole there? The enamel is wearing off and there's only dentin. So you can expect sensitivity from time to time like you had.'

'I'll have to fix that someday. That mark there is nothing to worry about, but that filling on the next tooth is wearing out so I'll have to replace that when I fill in the hole.

'But if you look on the other side, you have one on that tooth, too. That's most common to have them one each side.

'Overall, looking good though. See you in August, ok?

Later in the day, I reflect on holding the mirror, because I remember in the early 80s when I watched intently in the reflection off his glasses.

Eventually, he handed me a mirror to watch better.

In the 70s, he had a fish tank in the office and my siblings and I would watch the huge fish swim around while we waited for our turn in the chair.

In the 80s, Dr. Giamimo buys a bottle of Mountain Dew in the local pizza parlor and drops a tooth in it. Mountain Dew is the local beverage also known as Finn Beer.

Our community is fascinated by the slow motion drama as the tooth gradually decays in the sugary drink until it becomes a powdery residue on the bottom of the bottle.

I ask a year ago, 'Still have the Mountain Dew bottle?

'Yes.' And he laughs in his familiar and comforting way.

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