school

Toothsome smiles across the years

I’d bitten down hard on an apple, hit a seed,  and cracked a filling. You know how it is: there’s a little bit of metal in your mouth and everything’s fine for a few days. then you notice the odd twinge and after six months you’re drinking a bottle of scotch every day or so to kill the pain and your work is beginning to suffer.

I was sitting in the waiting room for my appointment with the emergency dentist, and once I’d worked through the gossip mags from two years back, the cartoon instructions on how to handle a toothbrush, the airconditioning unit’s manufacturer’s details, I noticed the dental diploma hanging on the wall, which bore the full name of the dentist.

Suddenly I remembered a tall, long-legged, well-stacked blonde with the same name who had been in my senior class at Morningside High thirty years back. She had been my secret crush all those years back, but I doubt she’d even noticed the awkward, pimply, tangle-haired introvert I’d been then.

Could she be the same knockout? Now that I had grown up, become a bit more confident, filled out into a fine figure of a man – and recently divorced by my nagging wretch of a wife who said I drank too much – well, maybe I could scratch that long buried itch…

The door opened, and, holding my breath, I entered the surgery. But the woman who turned to greet me as the nurse ushered me into the chair was far too old to have been my classmate. Her face was deeply lined, her hair was silvery grey, she sagged and bulged, her skin looked like it had seen seventy summers.

After she examined my teeth, making disconcerting noises with her tongue and muttering to the nurse, she looked at me, sizing me up for my ability to pay, no doubt.

“Didn’t you used to go to Morningside High?” she asked.

I admitted I did.

“So did I!” she exclaimed, her weathered face breaking into a thin smile.

“What year did you graduate?” I asked. Surely this hag must be from the previous generation.

She told me and I gasped.

“Oh my god, you were in my class!” I said.

And then this decrepit, grey-haired, wrinkled, dried up, fat-arsed, flat-chested wreck of a woman, asked me,

“What subject did you teach?”

Cold comfort

In high school, the teacher asked us all to share our dream career. I stood up and received a round of applause when I said I hadn’t made my mind up between astronaut or rock star, but whatever path I took, I’d make sure it was a cool gig.

And it worked out that way, believe it or not. Kids shriek with delight when they see me and come running every time I play music on the ice cream van.