Pop Goes the Tooth

Sherry McGuinn

And another couple grand.

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Hell. What’s this world coming to when a person can’t even enjoy a couple of cups of low-cal popcorn while watching TV? Where is the justice in that, tell me, please. After writing for hours and working out and doing chores, is it a crime to binge on an alleged “healthy” snack while binging on Netflix? For this writer, apparently so.

I haven’t eaten popcorn in years. It’s not that I don’t like it, indeed, I love it. Who doesn’t love popcorn? But for the last few years, I’ve been eating very few carbs, grains, and the like as they go straight to my ass and I’m not having that so popcorn, even the thirty calories a cup kind, has fallen by the wayside.

Once in a while, I’ll enjoy a little barley, or brown rice, or quinoa, but normally, I stick to lean protein and veggies. But, due to the Pandemic Crazies, I’ve slipped the last few months. Eaten stuff like jalapeno poppers, albeit, I can make an order last a week, as well as the thick, gooey cheese off my husband’s pizzas when he orders them, and yes, popcorn.

“Hold On. They’re Comin.’

These are dark days, with even murkier ones ahead. We’ve lost not only a season to COVID-19 but an entire year and dammit if we don’t need a crutch of some kind to see us through. For some people, that’s a pint of Chunky Monkey. For others, a bottle of cabernet and a couple of hits of weed. I’ll let you surmise which one I am.

But that said, I like my salty snacks. But excess sodium, much like carbs, is not my friend. Bloat is not a good look on me. So I’ve been trying to ramp up my hydration by drinking more water throughout the day. Of course, much of that day is spent in the john, but I do a lot of deep thinking there so it’s not a total loss.

So, the other day, I’m watching a British series on Hulu called The Accident. Very good by the way, but Hulu includes commercials so that kind of sucks.

I had a bowl of popcorn on my lap and one of our cats by my side. Bliss! The popcorn was seasoned with a spritz of olive oil and a few shakes of Nutritional Yeast which tastes like parmesan cheese but is a hell of a lot healthier. Tons of B vitamins and other good things.

I didn’t make the popcorn myself, it was store-bought. With a mere thirty calories a cup, I felt fairly virtuous as I chomped away. And then, suddenly, I felt something get caught between my upper left molar and the tooth next to it.

“Oh Thit!”

A “hull,” I thought as I tried to suck it free. Vigorously. All I did was make matters worse as I felt a sharp “something” sticking in my gum. Finally, I figured it out. It was part of my tooth! The complete backside of the molar had broken off. Thankfully, not where you could see as the rest of the tooth was intact, but gone nonetheless!

Dollar signs floated in front of my eyes as I tried to imagine what this would cost to be repaired. My husband and I have a great dentist. We love the guy but he’s expensive as hell. That said, he is highly skilled and incorporates all the bells and whistles that fearful patients like myself require. Forget novocaine. This guy will put you in LaLa Land if you need it. I’m talking IV in the arm and lights out. To me, that’s like a mini-staycation. Unfortunately, though, that kind of sedation costs a pretty penny and insurance doesn’t cover it. WHAT A SURPRISE!

Insurance companies don’t want us to be comfortable. Like the “Crazy-Ass Honey Badger” on YouTube, they don’t give a shit!

The irony of this situation is that I take care of my teeth. I’m obsessive with flossing, brushing, rinsing, etc, but for some people, it’s like a gene thing. It doesn’t matter. And then you have those gnarly folks who brush once a day if that, never floss and never have a cavity.

I went to see my guy this morning for a consultation and thankfully, I won’t lose the tooth. He is going to fill it, wait a month and then cap it with a crown. KA-CHING!

My cousin’s husband used to make implants, crowns, and the like for a dental lab and he said the markup is crazy. While it might cost $100 to make a crown, patients are charged upwards of two grand. Let that sit for a while.

I have to say, though, that my husband and I are fortunate in that our dentist lets us pay him out. Which we’ll be doing until our teeth turn to dust like the rest of us. He’s not a “pay or we don’t play” kind of a guy.

Since I need a couple of other procedures, I’m going to have them scheduled in one appointment and go for the sedation. Perhaps that makes me seem a coward and I should just pull up my Big Girl pants with the hole and tough it out.

“Trump? Trump Who? Oh, That Mofo.”

If nothing else, my broken tooth took my mind off the maniac in the White House, for a little while at least. That, in and of itself was a blessing. Another distraction, I've been trying to adopt a plant-based diet, which, considering my dental challenge, might not be the optimum time, but I'm determined to make it work.

I'll let you know how it goes and hopefully, one or more of you might be inspired to join me.

Meanwhile, even though I’ll be chewing on one side of my mouth, I’ll be thinking of how blessed I am compared to those unfortunate folks, through no fault of their own, have very little to chew on at all. Thanks to Trump, our “perfect” economy, and the tragedy that is the United States of America.

But thankfully, "the times, they are a-changing." Let’s chew on that for a while.

© Sherry McGuinn, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Sherry McGuinn is a slightly-twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and numerous other publications. Sherry’s manager is currently pitching her newest screenplay, a drama with dark, comedic overtones and inspired by a true story.

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My goal is to educate, entertain, make you laugh, and above all, make you think. I will be running the gamut as far as my articles go because I have a restless mind and I allow it to ramble where and when it wants. I hope you enjoy what I'm looking forward to sharing with you. If so, I'd love for you to follow me. Thanks for reading.

Chicago, IL
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