Diary

Grandad’s Teeth

06 April 2007 | Diary

I recently acquired a nifty little musical instrument called a Jew’s Harp. It was a gift from my grandad who tells me that he can no longer play it since all of his teeth have fallen out.

Given that the harp generates its mournful song by vibrating against the player’s incisors and using his skull as a resonance chamber, I can’t help but wonder whether it was playing this instrument that caused grandad’s teeth to escape their dribbly prison.

So far I have enjoyed playing the Jew’s Harp tremendously. It’s a delightfully easy instrument to play: a bit more complicated than a kazoo but infinitely simpler than a harmonica. All you have to do is find the best position for it against your teeth and control the notes and pitch using a combination of vowel-shapes and intakes of air. It’s as simple as a whore’s tit.

I plan to use it in a stand-up set at some point and most probably on my forthcoming podcast (though it will pale in comparison to the podcast’s excellent theme music composed by LiveJournal’s very own eccentric elephant, ).

Nonetheless, I am worried about the damage it might end up doing to my teeth. My grandad’s mouth – as ever – serves as a woeful parable and my teeth are pretty horrible as they are: yellowed mementos of oh so many toffees.

The biggest mistake I have made in a long time was falling out with my dentist. I can’t go back after what I said to him (no sir-ee-bob) and it’s proving impossible to find another one since any NHS dentist these days has a waiting list longer than the complaints desk queue of the average Tesco Metro. So it’s important that my teeth don’t fall out any time soon or I’ll be in an awkward oral situation. I’d better start enjoying soup.

I suspect it might be prudent for me to keep grandad’s harp for posterity but to acquire a new one. Grandad’s one is over seventy years old so I’d have no one to sue should actually end up gummy.



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