BAD NEWS: I had to persuade my children to let orthodontists cram painful devices of wire and plastic into their mouths.
Worse news: It cost the same as a manned space flight to Mars.
I told my wife: “Do we have to do this? They can eat with their gums. Granny does. ”
She gave me The Look so I shut up and paid the deposit.
The kids complained like mad, “forgot” to wear their retainers, and then kept losing them, causing the bill to skyrocket to the size of the US deficit. No wonder orthodontist services are booming in Asia.
But what can be done? Children cost money. As well as dental work, bribes to teachers, etc, they are constantly requesting “essential” ancillary items, such as clothes, toys, gadgets, their own apartments (I turned that one down), pizzas etc.
Last week my daughters demanded tickets to see a pop star touring Asia. I obediently remortgaged the house and coughed up the cash.
The result was that your humble narrator ended up in a stadium with 10,000 females all screaming “we love you”. None of them was screaming it in my direction, but at the stage where singer Taylor Swift was pumping out songs, each of which explained that there is this weird thing called love, right, which simultaneously hurts and feels good. The young audience was stunned by the brilliance of this amazing revelation. I tried to explain that I’d actually heard of love, we had it in the old days, but no one was listening.
I was there merely as a mule, to carry 10,000 Barbie handbags, and locate female toilets with queues less than five kilometers long. And while I am on that subject, why isn’t it obvious to architects that 50 per cent of the space in any building should be used for female toilets? Okay, so you won’t win any prizes, but who needs awards when you have the undying gratitude of every woman and mule who uses your building?
After an hour, I was completely deaf, not because of the music, but because of the screaming. (The kids screamed every time she finished a song, and I screamed every time she started a new one.)
So I decided to amuse myself by using my new camera’s zoom function. I zoomed in and in and in—and spotted an interesting telltale glint on Ms Swift’s dazzling white smile.
“She’s wearing a dental retainer,” I said. The kids were skeptical. “Of course she isn’t,” they barked. “She’s a pop star.”
So I zoomed in and in and in until I could actually see the beautiful blonde molecules of which Ms Taylor was constructed. She really did appear to be wearing one of those see-through, more or less invisible teeth-brace things.
I played the evidence back to the kids. Their eyes opened wide. “She IS wearing a retainer!” they agreed.
So I texted a journalist to do some instant research on Ms Swift. He reported back that Ms Swift had been seen at the offices of Kevin Sands, a California specialist in invisible retainers.
These days, I have a new argument. “From now on, kids, I want you to behave like rock stars. Yes, wear your retainers every day.”
(NOTE: video at the top of this post shows clips of the concert with commentary by two of this author’s many personalities – if any readers have been to London, please tell me if I have managed to sound even a little bit like a Londoner.)