On Thursdays after my normal classes at school I go to the Kid's Club to give English lessons to the young'uns (3rd to 4th graders). They're fun, but can be quite tiring. After a couple hours with them, I usually hang out with the kids in Tibi's art studio, which is adjacent to my English room. Filip, a kindergartener, is usually there when I show up. Filip's inquisitive little eyes are framed by Steve Urkel-esque glasses, and his wispy blond hair sprouts in messy tufts.
During one particular encounter, few weeks ago, Filip looked up at me through his thick glasses and asked in his meek little voice, "Domnul, aveti proteza?" (Mister, do you have dentures?). At first I was sort of shocked by his audacity. But then again, when I was his age, I had the same chutzpah with strangers (after all, it was me who, perched on my mother's lap while riding a train, had accused the woman sitting next to us of being "fat. "I then proceeded to play with her arm while extoling her flabbiness. She was indeed a large lady. I was just calling 'em like I saw 'em). So I knew Filip was asking out of pure curiosity. Plus I realized that dental care in Romania is not necessarily the priority it is in other, more affluent countries; the sight of missing teeth (or perhaps gold teeth) is much more common around here than seeing someone who has benefited from braces. So, I responded to Filip, more amuzed than offended, "Nu! is naturali," flicking them with my finger.
Tibi, who had overheard the whole exchange, said, "oh that reminds me of a joke!" (he always has a joke for the moment). He actually ended up telling two or three jokes on the subject of dentures. I only managed to remember one. I figured I'd write it here since I actually managed to remember it, and I've been getting some decent mileage out of it lately. So here you go:
An old woman needs a new pair of dentures, so she goes to see the dentist and asks how much they'd cost. The dentist informs her they'd be anywhere between 300-500 euros. Discouraged by the price, the lady goes home. She happens to look in the newspaper and finds an advertisement for 'slightly used' dentures. Hoping to find something more within her price range, she goes to the address listed in the ad. When she gets there a man shows her to a giant table covered in all sorts of dentures. She takes a couple of hours to go through the whole collection, finally selecting 2-3 possible pairs. However, none of them is a perfect fit. The man assures her that if she can't find anything right now, she should come back next week when he'll have more. So, the lady comes back the following week, and sure enough, he has some new additions. Once again, she scours the collection--trying them out, looking in the mirror, etc. Finally she finds a pair that seems just about right; they need only minor modification. She asks the man if he can make the necessary adjustments, and he responds, "lady, I don't make any modifications. I just get what I can find at the graveyard."
Bada-bing. That's today's denture-related joke. Now excuse me while I go floss.