Sometimes the only difference between whether an event is positive or negative is the perspective of the years.
My 7 year old grandson Micah was so proud to show me his recently loose tooth. This would be the fifth tooth Micah has lost so far and, as you may recall, the number of permanent teeth a person has at his age is a major status symbol.
Nothing is more exciting when you’re in first or second grade than having a loose tooth. If you’re lucky enough to lose a tooth while you’re in school (which Micah did), in front of your classmates, you’ll be a rock star for the rest of the school year. And if a drop or two of blood is involved in the process, then, oh man, you’re golden.
Then there’s the added bonus of the Tooth Fairy. I was surprised to learn that the Tooth Fairy grant payments have increased dramatically these days since I was a child.
I remember putting my tooth in a jar of water and putting it next to my bed for the night. The next morning the tooth would be gone but a shiny penny would be in its place. It was a fortune – a penny in 1960 could buy two packs of Topps Bubble Gum or two Hershey bars or 10 pieces of chewy Bit-O-Honey Peanut Butter. Whatever pain the loss of the tooth has cost you has been more than wiped out by these tooth fairy dividends.
These days, Micah tells me, the tooth fairy leaves dollar bills. In one instance we know of, the tooth fairy left a $20 bill, but that was apparently spurred by federal COVID-19 economic stimulus payments. This is why many of us are now suffering from inflation – too much Tooth Fairy money floating around in the economy.
To get back to where I was. Losing teeth is a win-win game for Micah with definite social and economic benefits.
When it comes to people your age and mine, the benefits diminish. We also lose teeth from time to time. I’ve always had healthy teeth, but when a few of them cracked and I had to have them removed, I asked my dentist what was going on. I take care of my teeth; I do not use them for tools or other purposes for which they are not intended. How come I’m in trouble now?
His answer was simple: after a lifetime of chewing, teeth wear out. Even good dental hygiene does not guarantee that you will not have occasional dental problems.
But at my age, and yours, losing teeth doesn’t elevate us to the social stratosphere. People don’t think it’s cool that we lose teeth and they certainly don’t want to see you pull one out in public.
Worse, the Tooth Fairy’s refund deadline has long passed. Even all those pennies and quarters (or even $20 bills) you’ve saved up over the years won’t make a dent in your dental bill.
So if you have a grandson or granddaughter or other youngster who is gloating about losing their mobile baby teeth, rejoice with them and maybe participate in the tooth fairy gift. This joy will not last forever.