The Curmudgeon


Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: Incisors xxi-xli

On his way there, the Father of Teeth dropped in upon a life emporium where a child's sickness was being compassionately prolonged. So loud and persistent were the patient's screams that she was confined to a box in order to spare her family distress; and so effective was the insulation that very little distress was visible on the family's faces. Indeed, the face of the child's younger brother was home to a positive smirk.

"Life is precious, is it not," said the Father of Teeth to the father of the child; "you spent all of three minutes engendering that one, and the salary of several years bringing it to its present state. It would certainly be a shame to waste the investment." But the father of the child said nothing, and stared at the Father of Teeth as though the latter had said something tactless.

"Life is precious, is it not," said the Father of Teeth to the mother of the child; "you put up with the attentions of that boor for a full three minutes, and then spent forty weeks of increasing discomfort and inconvenience before the result could be painfully and effortfully expelled. Then the feeding and the weaning, with no reward on the horizon save the hormonal apocalypse to come; it would certainly be a waste should all turn out in vain." But the mother of the child said nothing, and gazed at the Father of Teeth as though he had been talking nonsense.

"Life is precious, is it not," said the Father of Teeth to the child's elder brother; but the child's elder brother backed away from the grin of dreadful gums, and would not be tickled nor engage in repartee. However, the younger brother nodded enthusiastically, and answered the grin of the Father of Teeth with a gap-toothed grin of his own.

"Life," said the younger brother to the Father of Teeth, pointing gleefully at the quivering box from which an increasing if muffled volume of screams was leaking, "is precious because it bites."


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