Monday, April 6, 2009


There must be some American in-joke about the British and their teeth. Whenever I watch Jay Leno on the legendry Tonight Show on NBC he invariably fires off a salvo on the state of our dentures.

As a Briton I am not aware of us having bad teeth but I believe if my memory serves me right, and it rarely does, that we used to poke fun at the Irish for being a molar or two short of a fall set.

Indeed just this weekend the BBC has apologised after presenter Clare Balding made fun of Grand National winning jockey Liam Treadwell’s teeth on air. Apparently in the post-race interview, Balding asked the jockey to show his teeth - telling him he could now afford to “get them done” after winning the biggest race of his life. She told viewers: “He hasn't got the best teeth in the world.” Umm – and with the name Liam it’s a fair bet he’s Irish too.

In Spain, well I’m not too sure. I have a sense that the people of Andalucía are said to have bad teeth but whether the residents of say Madrid or Barcelona look down on my neighbours’ dentures I have no idea. They certainly poke fun at what comes out of their mouths – the pure Andaluz tongue – but their teeth, I know not.

I did spend a frantic hour or so some years back with my neighbour Isidro. He was clearing some brambles from a wooded area when with the exertion his false teeth shot out and we all had to go and search for them. We never did find them and they lay thereabout grinning inanely to this day.

For my final word on this subject, for now at least, I take you to Germany where police are searching for a man who tried to walk out of a supermarket with 68 tubes of toothpaste stuffed into his clothing. Noticing his bulging jacket, a shop worker grabbed the man when he refused to stop and the tubes of toothpaste fell all over the floor. Police are looking for a man with very clean teeth! I guess Jay would say – that means he can’t be British!

1 comment:

Prospero said...

Good one, Sancho, as always.

Here's another 'local' story told to me by this nameless person himself, who was known throughout his life as a charming ladies man specializing in foreign tourists of the female persuasion.

He turned up at his house at dawn one morning, somewhat disheveled and rather the worse for wear, to be greeted by his wife, who may well have been wielding a rolling pin, for she could be a fearsome woman.

He grinned at her sheepishly, one would imagine, whereupon she noticed the absence of a very expensive set of erstwhile gleaming teeth.

Asked where they might be, he snapped his gums shut and shrugged helplessly. There was a knock on the door.

A blonde, equally disheveled woman proferred a glass of water containing his teeth. "You left these behind," she said in English, a language with which the man's wife was unacquainted but one with which he had a limited knowledge.

"¿Qué dice?" asked the wife.

"Gracias. Thank you," said the man to the blonde, and turned back to his wife. "She says I left them in the bar."

There was no further explanation from him, who knew his wife well, but evident relief from her, who was more interested in the family finances than in her husband's nocturnal wanderings.

This was told to me several years after the incident, with a grin that sported a gleaming set of pearly whites that I prefer to think went with him to his grave, where, like with your neighbour Isidro, they are undoubtedly still grinning inanely.