aging fairies

Toothguard fairy I was awakened this morning by my significant other rummaging around in the bed, searching for a lost tooth guard. It finally turned up underneath my pillow. “How did it get there?” we wondered.

Of course I knew immediately, it must be the Toothguard Fairy! How exciting that this benevolent figure from my childhood had returned to celebrate the changes of middle age with us!

I have such wonderful memories of going to sleep with a lost tooth under my pillow and waking up to a quarter. Why not mark the milestones of aging with the same magic and mystery? I imagine the Tooth Fairy of my childhood, with a few more miles on her but as delightful as ever. Her dragonfly wings may have a few spider veins, her smile a few more wrinkles, her flight may be a bit slower, but thank goodness she is back.

And not a moment too soon. So much happens during this time of middle age. We can look for a Reading Glass Fairy, who slips a pair of glasses under our pillows as needed, the prescription strengthening as the years pass. Perhaps the Hearing Aid Fairy, who slides the device right into our ear cavity as we sleep. Of course the Prescription Fairy is eagerly anticipated, delivering desperately needed hormone replacement pills, Rogaine, or Viagra.

A friend of mine has struggled, as we all do, to accommodate the many items needed to manage the passage of time. Mealtimes became a particular challenge for him.  First came Christmas dinner, the solemn occasion during which he at the head of the table led the family in prayer. When heads were unbowed and eyes reopened, the family beheld the spectacle of his reading glasses, which he had removed during the prayer, half submerged in his bowl of Vichyssoise.  It took several moments for the laughter to subside. The next year during my birthday celebration he realized he had lost his recently acquired and very expensive hearing aid. We all looked frantically for the $6000 item, finally locating it perched at a jaunty angle on top of my birthday cake. (Ear wax seeks candle wax?) We realized that my poor friend was suffering from a syndrome that involved a compulsion to place personal items into one’s food. We tried to think of an appropriate name for this condition, gastro-accessoritis? But really reading glasses and hearing aids are not accessories per se, like jewelry and scarves, they are more Shit We Need Getting Older. SWENGO! We settled upon the best term for his malady: Swengo-sustitis. Surely there are other sufferers out there who can now find some relief in knowing they are not alone. I sent him a get well card.

Recently I found my baby teeth in an old jewelry box, a rather macabre discovery. They are yellowed and broken into small pieces (either that or I had approximately 35 small yellow pointed teeth in my head as a child). I don’t know what to do with this treasure, I have no offspring who might one day value this priceless heirloom. Even if I had children, this would require a sentimental streak that I am sure I could never convey upon any progeny. Yet, it seems odd to throw the teeth away, so in the jewelry box they remain.

I look forward to more visits from the Aging Fairies. The Toothguard fairy can work in conjunction with the Denture Fairy. I mean, why should a tooth loss in childhood be celebrated while the same event later in life ignored?  It is basically the same thing, right? I say with the aging baby boomer population it is time to reinstate the whole Helpful Fairy world. This is when we need them the most. If you prefer that Fairies just help out with dental matters, then please send me the Root Canal Fairy asap. I am scheduled for my third one soon, and man those things are expensive. Please ask her to leave more than a quarter this time.

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Image credit: Toothguard fairy photo: by Ronald Barnes fron his flickr photostream and used under creative commons license.