He may have been one of the 7 dwarfs in Snow White. Might have been, if it was not for a different continent and a different, harsher country. The mining bit was still the same though. He was short, had a flat button nose and no teeth. Literally, no teeth.
My office was at the back of the building and he must have made a strange picture as he travelled all the way to the back, but no one would have noticed, because their doors were always closed, and the typists never looked up, they were always hitting the keyboard in the frenzy that only ladies with those nimble fingers can manage.
And, so he walked into my little office, this man of little stature, button nose, and glasses at least a centimetre thick. This man with no teeth.
“How can I help you, sir?” Ever the professional legal person that I was.
“Hau, Madam, these people they stole my teeth,” he lisped through his toothless mouth.
How do you keep a straight face when being told that? You do. Early on I learned the poker face trick. The mask that you put on when you are faced with problems that may be the end result of a bad joke. But, this was not a joke. This man’s set of dentures was forcibly removed from his mouth because he owed the debt collectors (read guys with ball busters.) And, so he came to me, his legal advisor. Who had stoney face, but could not shake the vision of two thugs with their arms around my client’s head, putting their hands into his mouth, and walking away with their trophy: A brand new set of dentures!
My client went to the police station and openend a case of assault and robbery. The suspects were apprehended. And the dentures? Safely kept in the evidence locker! Sitting with a conundrum, if there ever was one. How to get his teeth back, which was simultaneously evidence. So, I phoned the investigating officer, asked him, if my client promised to appear in court with the said evidence, would he please release the dentures?
I did not hear from my client for a very, very long time. Until he walked into my office again. Teeth seriously make a huge difference to one’s appearance, let me tell you. He dropped the case in return for his teeth, and we negotiated with the thugs’ boss to reach a more amicable solution that involved the repayment of actual money, and not enamelled molars.
Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
Dentists in Australia are expensive. (Met ander woorde, hulle is moer duur!!!!) In my blog post titled dentists and gynaecologists, you will discover that they do things a bit differently here when it comes to dentistry. (The dentist had the cheek to tell me that usually Africa’s dentistry was a bit inferior, but he recanted his story pretty quick when he saw the artistry displayed in my mouth. Clearly we talked about two different Africa’s when we spoke.)
Each one of my pregnancies cost me amongst other things, a tooth. Babies drain the calcium from your body with the speed of lightning, and a abscess in your tooth is more painful than childbirth. My latest crown just under four years ago, cost me just over $3000, of which the medical aid paid about $1000 only. I could have flown to South Africa, had my crown done, and visited my mummy and flown back, and would have had change left!
Have your teeth seen to, before you embark on your great Australian Adventure.
May your smiles be many and wide,
your visits to the dentist brief,
and the tooth fairy a distant memory.
(O ja, here in Australia we mostly have tooth fairies, although my children have a resident tandemuis, called Gawie. I would suggest you bring one with you, but make sure he has a deep pocket, because teeth cost more here as well.)
A bit advice from a mum in the know (not me) when you get here start a saving plan for your children’s wisdom teeth dramas. You will need it.