THERE’S A LINE. And I have crossed it. It’s called Geezerhood. Hi, my name’s Rob, and I’m a Geezer.
One of my front teeth, a fragile wee crown that should’ve been replaced years ago, snapped off at the gumline, complete with stump, when I bit into a sticky sweet on Christmas Eve.
Dentist? Gone till January 13th. Broken crown still intact, lying there on the bench looking at me like some prop from a horror flick. The image in the mirror is like a character I once saw pushing a shopping trolley in Santa Monica. He wore a sack for a coat.
Choices? Emergency treatment quoted at $2000 for an implant, but not until December 27th. Or Mitre 10. Tube of ‘repositionable’ Superglue. $3.70. Adjustable for up to 30 seconds after application of glue.
Family horrified. I continue to be an ageing embarrassment. Choose the Superglue. Tastes nasty but works for up to five days as long as I don’t eat anything denser than yoghurt.
Own dentist eventually back on duty. Looks at me dolefully. Crown went down the plughole yesterday mid way through the second tube of Superglue. Guts now feeling vaguely toxic from all the fumes. Time to act.
Without trying to sound too morbid, I ask him rhetorically how many more steaks I am likely to have to gnaw in the years between onset of Geezerhood and Death. Sympathetic nod, the way one looks at a fatally-wounded elderly spaniel.
Two titanium posts, miracle goo that is shaped into a tooth and anchored to the other pathetic companions on either side. $150.
Not bad. Means I can go out in public again. Ring and cancel the parrot, eye patch and pirate hat.
The other curse of Geezerhood is broken sleep. I see that one Roger Ekirch, professor of history at Virginia Tech, reckons our ancestors never slept in eight hour bursts. They used to have two sleeps, between which they’d get up for maybe an hour or two.
This is me to a T – except it’s four lots of 1½-to-2½ hours. Like last night …
Sleep two hours, wake to sound of dogs barking at possum up tree.
Spend half hour getting dogs inside, then lock them in garage. Sleep two hours. Cat’s wet nose in face. Hit cat. Sleep two hours.
Stalker person calls around 3am. Phone rings just once, hangs up. Sleep two hours.
Two roosters start up outside. Stumble around looking for air-rifle, stub toe, swear. Miss roosters with all five shots.
Relieve self, sleep just a wee bit more. However, dream psychedelically during this phase, and have nightmare about former work colleague going over a cliff on a ride-on mower and turning into the skeleton of a pterodactyl.
Welcome to Geezerhood.
Rob Harley is a celebrated Kiwi journalist, documentary-maker, story-teller, Harley-Davidson-rider, and author of ‘The High Voltage Hedgehog’.