Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Teeth, and the Decline of the British Empire

Open wide
No. 3 son, or MicroGrump as I call him, has just finished cosmically expensive orthodontic treatment. I tried to talk him out of it by appealing to his better side. I told him that if we gave the money to Translithumoronia instead we could protect their threatened uranium mining industry for the next decade.

No go. He wanted perfect pearly whites, like all his schoolmates, so they can admire themselves in their shiny iPhones. He now has A1 Ku Klux Klan teeth.1

What's happened to us Brits? When we had bad teeth we ruled the world. Only fuzzy-wuzzies and Italians had good teeth. We've lost the splendid attitude displayed perfectly in verse 14 of the National Anthem:

"A cricketing hero from Leith
Who while batting got hit in the teeth
He spat out a molar
And said to the bowler
"A bit to the left, if you pleath"

That was the stuff. We used to have a stiff upper lip, which was mainly to hide the ghastly sight beneath, but now we're all full-lipped and pouty and sparkly, and what's the consequence? The empire is down to the Falkland Islands and seventeen retirement communities in Spain. We've gone soft.

Oh, for the excellent martial spirit of Rudyard Kipling:

"The boy stood on the burning deck
Impervious to the killing
He bit out the pin of a hand grenade
And risked his brand-new filling"

Well, I'm bringing it all back. I'm going to have a whip-round at my local, The Bridge and Crown, and buy a surplus ship from the Royal Navy (there are plenty). We'll name her HMS Halitosis. Once the weather gets nice, I shall load up with Twiglets, sugary snacks, and no toothpaste. Then it's off to France where I'll claim Calais back. Then I'll point the prow westward. It's about time somone invaded America. So get ready, colonials. You owe me a lot of back-tax. We can negotiate it over a nice cup of tea.

1 - White, mostly straight, and boring


  1. Are your gums hard enough to chew a Twiglet?

  2. Bring it on, sucka.

    While you've been polishing your smiles, we've been busy becoming obese and flatulent.

    Prepare to be squished and pretty much just grossed the Hell out.

  3. I had some serious orthodontic treatment as a child (had an overbite that I could three fingers side on into it). Luckily, hardly cost my parents a cent as this was done by a skilled ortho surgeon in Zim and back in the days when there was medical insurance there...and a healthcare system (oh yes and food and running water and electricity).

    Apparently I have superb teeth today...so dig deep and think of Micro's future :-)

  4. Can someone "once-colonised" now be a coloniser? If so, I'm with you! Who could resist the return of tiffin, hill stations, sweaty frustrated memsahibs, tiger hunting, endless G+T etc. Should I bring my own punka-wallah?

  5. Haha! I'm with Mooooog. :)

  6. Wow! Straight teeth and Brits. I didn't think the two could be used in the same sentence. ;-)

    It must be all those silly reality TV shows that you started over there and we stole from you.


  7. Sorry, didn't catch a word of that. Still looking at the picture. I'm a deep and noble soul, but somedays its nice to be shallow.

  8. I was just listening in on a conversation between a CIA official and Obama. Don't ask me how, I've got a nifty surveillance app on my shiny iPhone. Anyway, they're gonna shut you down.

  9. You'd defeat them with some nice halitosis I bet.

  10. Don't forget the limes... can't be getting scurvy too.

    All hail bad teeth and the return of the British empire

  11. I disapprove of the picture caption...
    Keep it clean grumps

  12. GB ~ No, but I'll give it a damn good suck

    Mooooooooog ~ Hey! That's not playing fair

    Nat ~ Thanks - I feel better now (but no richer)

    GW ~ Sure! You want to be bos'un?

    MiMi ~ Well now you're ganging up. Even unfairer

    RefGeek ~ Yup - straight, white, and sharp. Scary

    Indigo ~ Feast your eyes buddy! How's FF XIII?

    mo ~ Thank the Lord. I'm almost out of inspiration

    pixie ~ Cool! I'm amending the post to name the ship

    VL ~ Yup, qwe'll have limes, and some nice lemon for the gins and tonic

    RT ~ Good heavens! I'm being pulled up by my own nipper.

  13. Hey 'Grumpy! FF13? Oh my, it's fab. Groovy even, if we'll agree to permit ourselves some 60s nostalgia. By the way, wish I had white teeth instead of these coffee sponges. And a dental assistant. To help with the teeth, obviously. Indigo

  14. Urber, I found out something today and it has left me a bit puzzled. Now, for the first time...yes, I read your profile! I'm trying to find a copy of "Chewbacca reads Jane Austin", and I can't find it anywhere! Is it out of print, or can you tell me where I can find a copy?

  15. sorry, but whenever i hear about british teeth, i'm reminded of Summer Teeth. Some-r here, some-r there. sorry. i distract easily.

  16. Can I vote on the comments? I vote for Mooooog and MommaKiss, each of whom made me laugh out loud.

  17. British smiles just aren't the same any more.

  18. who needs a mouth full of pearly white tombstones when they can have cricket stumps instead.

    Mind you, might as well look after them; I went to the dentist last week and she said a denture would cost £700. I'd rather have the pain of their torture instuments.

  19. Yippee! It's been ages since we had a good invasion. I'll put the tea kettle on.....

  20. The poetry! The emotion! The naughty dental floozy!

    This post runs the gamut of bloggy emotion.

  21. Damn, I used "emotion" twice.

    Anyway, liked it a lot.

  22. I tried one of those curly wurly's and nearly broke all my teeth. I blame you.

  23. Indigo ~ Right, I'm buying it

    Alice ~ I might have mildly exagerrated in the old profile. Sorry

    MommaK ~ :) (not j!)

    Blissed-OG ~ Feel free!

    HPH ~ No, they've lost that certain je ne sais quoi

    Friko ~ 700 spondoolies? Crikey. Let 'em fall out

    Marla ~ You've sussed our Achilles heel - always attack at teatime

    lbtw ~ Thank you! Gamut! I'm humbled

    DDG ~ Did you remember to cook it?

  24. War is bad. Having said that, Twiglets are not. Where do I sign up? I'm ready.

  25. No fighting! And? Do I know what a twiglet is? I know what a curlie wurlie is...and something else you sent to me...was it a twiglet?

    And so not the point of your post, but I got stuck at the mention of chocolaty goodiness.

  26. Oh you and your Twiglets (why did that sound dirty when i re-read it...i must have pure filth running through my mind).

    You know what, it annoys me when Americans think that all Brits have bad teeth. I'm British, my teeth are perfectly straight and i don't even have one filing. Not bad for 25, if i say so myself.

    I'd much rather have normal teeth that weird abnormal looking white toombs otherwise known as caps. Teeth so white they glow in the dark. No thank you!

    Great post Grump, as usual. I do love your blog. :)

  27. hmmm, i was thinking bleaching my teeth for a while. should i skip it then?

  28. Left at the incisor and straight on til morning. America here you come! (I'm tired. Was that just weird?)

  29. Bags drive the LCT.

    (Landing Craft, Teeth)

  30. Nothing finer than Scottish teeth, a supreme subset of British teeth. Our greatest contribution to the world of dentistry is to give them something upon which to practice.

  31. Too true, Mme DeF. In a very uncertain world with a constant threat of invasion by dentaliens hanging over our heads, the supreme certainty is that you'll never be bitten to death by a Scotsman.

  32. He only needed the braces in the first place because all you fed us as babies were Curly Wurlys and Twiglets.

  33. A sore subject in our household - husband dearest had 19 teeth removed 6 days ago. I had to laugh though, at your post that is.

  34. Apparently 'teeth' were a far bigger taboo to the Victorians than sex and bad teeth the reason none were inclined to smile during photographs. In the early 20th Century village girls would have their teeth removed as a wedding present so they could walk up the aisle with pearly white dentures and pose for a nice photo.

    I suffered rampant gum disease in adulthood owing to bad orthodontics as a child. My teeth have cost me hundreds, not to straighten, but just to stop them falling out. On the plus side I now have the teeth of a 23 year old! However I would never begrudge anyone having their teeth improved - except when folk are daft enough to choose the whitest shade for bleaching, and then wonder why their teeth look false!

  35. I'm sorry to have been so rubbish at keeping up with comments. I blame Gordon Brown, and poor timekeeping. Sigh