Okay, so I watch too many crime dramas. One of the educational benefits is how to identify bodies burned beyond recognition. Now we don't have to deal with this issue on a day to day basis, but it is interesting that such identities are usually made by comparing dental records.
The older a person gets he realizes just how unique each person's set of teeth and assisting faux implements might be.
This came to my mind simply because I have recently been rendered in need of repair to these faux implements. I was innocently chewing on a dried peach when I heard a dreadful "crunch". At first I feared that I had found a seed in the peach. But I soon learned that the problem was a broken front bridge when three connected front teeth fell into my lap.
I saved them in a discarded medicine bottle. But the immediate problem was this was Saturday night, and the next day I was scheduled to minister the Lord's Supper and teach adult class in Sunday School at our church in Costa Mesa. The thought briefly occurred to me that a little Krazy Glue might create another cute little endorsement story, but I chickened out.
My wife suggested I might get by as long as I don't smile. You want me to live a day without smiling? That's not going to happen. I checked out the mirror, and she was right, so I compromised. During the Lord's Supper I kept the stiff upper lip, and not a soul noticed my problem. But these are my friends, so when it came time for Sunday School (in this church SS follows worship hour) I just had a little fun explaining my problem, and then turned to the Psalm for study.
I told them the story of the guy who was scheduled to be an after dinner speaker, but during dinner he broke his teeth. In frustration he turned to the man seated next to him and explained his dilemma. To his surprise the man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a set of teeth. He thought his problem was temporarily solved until he discovered the teeth were too large for his mouth. "Great try, but I'm afraid these won't fit. Thanks for the effort." But to his utter shock, the man reached into the other coat pocket and produced another set of teeth. They fit just well enough for him to deliver his brief message and sit down. "Wow, am I glad that's over. And what luck was that for me to sit right next to a dentist!" "What dentist?" the man said, "I'm an undertaker."
That may have been a tactical error, because it was with difficulty I helped the crowd to give serious minded devotion to the text of Psalm 3 (which, ironically, has the line "you have shattered the teeth of the wicked").
Now the dentist says I have an abscess beneath one of those anchor teeth. I need to get them extracted, let the swelling subside, and then begin molds for the eventual installation of a removable plate. This stuff happens when you are the local fossil. I don't need to be concerned about dying in a fiery crash. My dentist can identify me as one in a million.
All that dental work will take time, of course, and now I am scheduled to preach in Tucson, AZ on March 2, and my mouth will have no aesthetic improvement between now and then. As God says to Moses who was "slow of speech": "Who made man's mouth?" I pray His word will be clear and plain even from my crooked mouth.