Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My Teeth

My teeth are pearly white and my smile is dazzling. So dazzling, in fact, that anyone standing within smiling range must wear a pair of those special, ultra-thick goggles as used by nuclear test scientists, lest his or her retinas be burnt out.

Unfortunately, these days, the only people with access to such goggles are nuclear test scientists. For safety’s sake, therefore, I have to restrict any grins and smirks to atomic weapons testing ranges. So, in practice, if you want to tell me a joke or otherwise make me happy, you’ve got to do it in Iran or North Korea. Which is a great pity because Iranian “How many Zionist imperialist lackeys of the Great Satan does it take to change a lightbulb?” and Korean “My dog’s got no nose – That’s because you ate it” gags aren’t particularly funny. Especially if, at the time they’re being told, I happen to be within fallout range of a 20 Megaton blast.

Then again, I suppose I have it very easy compared to Ancient Romans. My magnificently astounding teeth are courtesy of Eucryl “Whitening” Tooth Powder. If Catullus and others are to be believed, Ancient Romans’ sparkling teeth were down to urine. That’s right: They brushed their teeth with piss in order to get the true, “Ultrabrite Smile” effect.

I should imagine in the same way that, today, competing brands of toothpaste each claim to give you the whitest, brightest teeth, back in the 1st century AD, rival urine producers would make equivalent boasts. They’d claim that their piss, and theirs alone, was the most efficacious at removing stains, preventing plaque build-up and cavities, and giving you that “winning, confident smile.” Patrician piss was undoubtedly better than the plebeian variety, but I wonder how the average dental hygiene-conscious Roman citizen would decide on exactly which patrician he’d have piss in his mouth?

Ultimately, I suppose, one would go by one’s dentist’s recommendation. However, if 90 per cent of dentists agreed that, for example, Gaius Calpurnius Piso’s piss was the sine qua non of tooth-enhancing urine, then Gaius Calpurnius Piso would have his work cut out to produce a sufficient amount to satisfy demand. By the time he’d fulfilled the requirements of the imperial family, the Senate, and the two Consuls, there wouldn’t be much more than a thimble-full left for the rest of the Empire, even if the man was on a 24-hour asparagus diet. They therefore probably had to equip him with the equivalent of an olive press in order to enable a “pump action” which extracted the very last drop.

Actually, this explains why so few statues of Ancient Romans ever depict them smiling: There simply wasn’t sufficient “extreme whitening” piss to go round. Particularly if some inconsiderate cunt was in the habit of squeezing a piss purveyor down his middle.

5 comments:

K. MacEgan said...

One could of course use a hazel twig as the medieval Welsh did.

Montesqusmith said...

Dental hygene I consider to be a micro reflection of society itself. Take the instance of the carnie peg seller that darkened my dad's door many years ago. She was a toothless simpleton that threatened to hex my father unless he crossed her palm with silver. Ironically, and as my father proceeded to inform gypsy-chick- had she been equipped with the ability to undertake magic then she would assuredly not be reduced to sporting a few back incisors and selling malformed bits of wood. Instead, she would be exploiting her very owned lucky heather to live in the lap of luxury where money and dental hygene were abundently and readily accesible. Suffice it to say - her remaining gnasher probably went the way of the rest when padre slammed the door in her face.

Joe Slavko said...

As you say, on the face of it, a gypsy equipped with a bag full of lucky heather ought to be luckiest person around. The fact that they aren't suggests two possibilities:

1) The luck-giving functions of the heather are only activated on purchase, much like one of those pay-as-you-go mobile phone vouchers.

Or

2) Gypsies are much like Moses in that, though they travel to the Promised Land and are able to lead others to it, they can never actually get there themselves.

K. MacEgan said...

You are of course wrong Joe. It is very Zen Buddhist. I was schlepping round Belfast with or without stolen car radios when I saw a Roma woman,either Kalderash or Lovari tribe.Hand outstretched I gave her a few bob,and she smiled.Gold fucking teeth!I can't even afford ordinary ones.Thus someone who had more £ than I begged from me.Nowadays I just nod.Cheaper.Ohm.

Rayner said...

This post actually made me think, Joe. How come they didn't have that much smiling statues then? Perhaps because during that time, one of the least developed aspects of health is dental care. Chicago, my hometown, has come a long way, and their dentistry is quite impressive now, just like the other modern cities across the globe.

Before, dental procedures were so crude, but now, one of the most advanced professionals around are dentists. Chicago, IL doesn't want to go back to the ancient times of dentistry, I'm sure.