Wednesday, October 17

Fighting tooth and claw

Why do Americans have a thing about British dentistry? Actually the Gnome knows the answer to that and is ashamed to say he generally agrees with their logic. For to be born an Englishman may be, as Rudyard Kipling once wrote, 'to win first prize in the lottery of life' but unfortunately little of that windfall is spent on straightening teeth.

Even poor old Prince Charles, who presumably has no need to queue for hours with the masses in the hope of getting into an NHS practice, is known in the US as a man for whom teeth were, are, and forever will be, something used only to chew food. This is not the American way. For here teeth are a status symbol. Each one must be polished, whitened, straightened and capped until capable of taking their rightful place among their equally stylish neighbours.

An American smiling at you can be quite an unnerving experience. One is often drawn to the teeth, their shiny, glowing whiteness reminiscent of Hollywood portrayals of the gates to heaven.

As an aside, why is heaven always assumed to be a place of glowing white light? Has the Almighty no concept of colour? Presumably all interior designers go straight to hell, spending their time with Lucifer discussing how to update the torture chambers with accented use of colours such as Firestorm Red and Sulphorous Yellow...

Sorry. The Gnome is a little tired and his mind can wander under such circumstance. Back to teeth. The Gnome has returned to Philadelphia this week (no cheesesteaks or roadkill yet though...) and met a new client who had just such a smile. His first words were:

'Hey there Gnome, nice to meet you at last. Your teeth are good for an Englishman...'

The Gnome's response was, in his own humble opinion, not a bad one - although potentially damaging to his future work prospects.

'Pleased to meet you too. You're quite slim for an American...'

Fifteen all, new balls please!

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