I am reading a book called “Alan’s Big Scary Teeth.”
Alan, in case you need to know, is an alligator (what
else? I hear you say) and I am sitting in the dentist’s waiting room which is why my reading material is, well, Tooth Related.
Alan looks after his
teeth rather better than I do. He brushes each one for ten minutes a day. At that rate, I can’t help wondering how often he has to charge his electric toothbrush, always supposing this is possible in the jungle. My toothbrush is always flashing at me
from the bathroom windowsill warning me that it needs to be charged up yet again, so I need to know, does Alan (of the Big Scary Teeth) have the same problem?
Alan has tended to his teeth, he sets off to scare all the animals in the jungle by flashing his gnashers at them in such an unfriendly way that even the monkeys find themselves falling from the trees at the mere sight of his Pearly Whites.
Alan, however, has a secret: those Big Scary teeth are false! It is at this point in the story that I start to worry for young readers who may be expecting their first visit from
the Tooth Fairy and have put their faith in their parents’ assurances that new, bigger (and scarier?) teeth will take the place of the lost ones. I would hate them to be traumatised by Alan’s story.
Things get worse. Alan loses his false teeth when he falls asleep in his warm, mud bath after a day of scaring the wits out of other creatures. Now when he heads into the jungle, the other animals hoot with laughter at the
sight of him, all gummy as he is. The monkeys still fall from the trees but this is because you can’t hold your sides laughing and stay safely swinging from branch to branch. (Try it if you like, you will find I am right about this.) I can imagine the
little ones with their gappy grins reading this and worrying what they look like, instead of carrying the gaps where their baby teeth used to be as a badge of honour, a sign of growing up. I really think Alan’s Big Scary Teeth should come with a Dental
Anyway Alan’s false teeth are found and returned to him on the condition that he no longer uses them for scaring his fellow animals but for
more practical purposes, like gardening and cooking, for instance. Useful pursuits where a handy set of teeth, even false ones, may come in handy. Or toothy. But Alan’s scary days are not completely over - he is still allowed to use his Big Scary Teeth
as props when telling frightening bedtime stories to the jungle animals, presumably sending them to their beds scared stiff and leading to many a nightmare.
this point, before I am too traumatised myself, I am called into the hygienist’s surgery. By way of a delaying tactic, I tell her I have been reading the story of Alan and his False Teeth. I do get the feeling that she hasn’t actually read it herself
but then a hygienist’s life is a busy one.
This isn’t my usual hygienist who couldn’t fit me in this time round - so we need to get acquainted
before I let her loose on my teeth. Fortunately there is a splendid conversation opener there on the wall of her surgery: a massive painting of flamingoes. Apparently when she had to move from a treatment room on the second floor to this one on the first floor
her one condition was that she could bring her flamingoes with her. I have to say that the flamingoes are far more relaxing to gaze upon while having my teeth attacked by some kind of ultrasonic gadget (I can’t help thinking about the new Doctor Who
with her sonic screwdriver) than the brightly coloured illustrations in Alan’s Big Scary Teeth.
Mr B wants to know, when I arrive home, how I fared in the
hygienist’s chair. I think about flashing my big, scary teeth at him, as Alan would undoubtedly have done, but I don’t want him to fall out of his wheelchair like the monkeys out of their trees.
I keep my mouth shut. Better safe than sorry. Alan would do well to learn from me...