This is the third tooth I’ve had in my mouth in the last week. They had to break my temporary crown to make a mold of my top and bottom teeth, and then afterwards they gave me a new temporary crown. It is prettier than the last one but it is not as comfortable. The back isn’t concave enough . . . though hey, it’s only for another six days.

They tell me “the lab” is hard at work making my gold tooth. It will be delivered to the dentist’s office at 11 a.m. sharp next Monday morning, and then I will have it epoxied into my skull until I’m sick of it. Maybe it’ll be fine. I don’t care. It was $400 cheaper than a porcelain crown anyway. At this point in my life: hey, that’s a hell of a deal.

The dentist asked me what color gold I wanted—rose, white, yellow—and I told him, you know, I want that good ol fashioned classic yellow gold that pirates have. And to this he said: “Good choice.” He seemed totally unfazed by this bizarre life decision I have made, which made me feel real cool for maybe five seconds.

He and his dental hygienist went to work on my mouth. I have no idea what they did in there, but they were very nice and gentle about it. I think the dentist buffed up my little vampire fang . . . but who knows. At any rate it felt smoother afterwards. I slid my tongue over it and it and wasn’t horrified by its grittiness, which it once had plenty of but no more. I mean, I don’t want to see it anymore, and hopefully I won’t have to for another decade or so, but it’s nice to know that, despite being a godawful little lunar stalactite, this terrible remnant of a bad memory is at least in the best condition it can possibly be in.

A woman named Donna visited me while I was sitting in the chair staring at a painting on the wall. I was goofed up on something and feeling numb and weird. Donna was holding a clipboard and she had me sign for my future tooth. I guess in doing so I have promised them I am going to pay for this thing. She underlined the type of tooth they’re making for me. It said “Full High Noble.” That was the name of it! I said to Donna: “Full high noble—just like me. Just kidding. I am a peasant.” And Donna said: “Hey man, go easy on yourself!” and I told her I would but probably I won’t.

Full High Noble! Whoa. Maybe this is the nicest thing I’ve ever purchased for myself. But, not so fast, I had no choice but to use an interest-free healthcare credit card, so I’ll probably be paying this thing off for two years or whatever. Hey, what’re ya gonna do. I sure as heck ain’t gonna stress out about it too much cuz I can’t very well go without a front tooth.

•   •   •

At the dentist’s office I overheard the following:

[Dental Hygienist]: “You are welcome to walk around or read a magazine or whatever, but I will stay with you while this thing is on your face.”

Later, to a child:

[Dentist]: “Whoa! You got a lake inside your mouth! Let’s get some suction in here before you drown.”

Finally, to me:

[Same dentist]: “Feeling a little sensitive, Ryan? I can numb you if you need me to.”

(To which I replied: Hey baby, load me up.)

•   •   •

Well: Let’s do this, man. It’s pirate time. I’m ready. I am so ready to look like even more of a cartoonish fool than I already am. H’okay?!