Thinking back on my childhood, I’m filled with nostalgic warmth for some of the classic childhood moments I experienced: learning to ride a bicycle; getting twice as many presents at Christmas because my parents were divorced; stealing a neighborhood ice cream truck and crashing into a 7-11.
Of course, no childhood memory bank is complete without a recollection of making money for losing your teeth.
Why bring this up?
Because it’s National Toothfairy Day.
Although just one of a series of important dental holidays including Pay Your Dentist or Else Day (April 16), Nitrous Oxide Day (June 5) and Molar Awareness Week (First week of Sept.), National Toothfairy Day is undoubtedly the most popular.
It celebrates the legacy of the tooth fairy, that wand-waving mystic who gives children their first experiences with selling parts of their body for cash.
Throughout the centuries, the tooth fairy has never waivered from his little-understood profession, except for a brief time in the late 70s when he stopped collecting teeth to focus on a career as a musician.
During that time he fronted several British punk rock bands, including “Fillings of Fate,” “The Enamel Scrapers” and “Gin Javitis and the Cavity Searchers.” But it didn’t last, and like plaque on unbrushed teeth, he returned to dentistry.
As a nocturnal nomad who visits children all across the world, the tooth fairy must often acclimate himself to different cultural norms.
For instance, in Europe he’ll tuck a Euro beneath the pillow of EU children instead of U.S. dollars. In Saudi Arabia, the tooth fairy, or as he is known there, “The Tooth Sheik,” will leave a small quantity of crude oil.
I remember my tooth fairy experiences vividly.
First was the exciting realization I had a loose tooth. Then came realizing the sooner I got it out, the sooner I got that crisp green portrait of George Washington, who ironically didn’t have any real teeth.
Then came the entrepreneurial understanding that the more teeth lost, the more money made, which eventually led to my mom catching me in the bathroom with a hammer before I could carry out my ingenious business plan.
One of the most common ways to speed up the tooth-losing process was by tying one end of a string to your loose tooth, and the other end to the back bumper of your grandfather’s station wagon.
Or maybe that was just me.
Anyway, I meant to say you’d tie it to a door handle, and when you were ready, you’d brace for blood and pain and then … nothing would happen, because your grandfather couldn’t tie string very well and you’d have to do it again.
If you had a particularly senile grandfather, it would not be surprising if he tied the string to the door and station wagon, forgetting your tooth entirely and instead ripping the front door off your house.
But regardless of how you lost the tooth, you had a tradeable commodity to put beneath your pillow. The next morning, your tooth would be gone, replaced by a glorious greenback.
Of course, if your parents were sentimental hoarders who kept the teeth the Tooth Fairy took from you, the teeth would never truly disappear. And 14 years later, desperate for additional income, you’d find them in the bottom of a dresser drawer and try to sell them on eBay.
It’s a mystery, though, what the tooth fairy does with the teeth he does collect. The answer, which I figured out by reading the news, is that he sells them at auction.
Granted these aren’t just any teeth, but rather those of legendary musicians.
Last November the tooth fairy made a killing when the discolored molar of former Beatle John Lennon sold at a British auction house for more than $31,000 — yes this actually happened.
The tooth — which also had a cavity — was removed during a recording session for Lennon’s solo album “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band,” which would explain the intense screaming in the middle of the song “Well, Well, Well.”
With the kind of money these auctions bring in, there’s a good chance that when Flava Flav finally dies, the tooth fairy will break into the funeral home to steal his golden grill, which is worth an estimated $17 million.
So, although our baby teeth are long gone, there are still ways to celebrate National Toothfairy Day as college students. Whether you’ve just had your wisdom teeth removed, or recently got into a bar fight on Greek Row, know the tooth fairy hasn’t forgotten you.
Set that tooth under your pillow and in the morning be greeted with a fine gift:
He left you a condom.