Thursday, September 28, 2006


What if life was a Hanna & Barbera cartoon and my character got rubbed of? For all my dental cavities, you wouldn’t tell me from Courage the Cowardly Dog using dental records. Then again Dental Records are an alien concept to some of us seeing that when we desperately need a dentist we go to Hezekiah Kinyua [MD, QUACK] and the fellow doesn’t keep dental records. (What with the way the Medical Board guys are determined to earn per diem these days.)

I will not cast aspersions on whatever Medical School the good doctor went to- if he did- but specialisation wasn’t their forte. The dude is a shrink, dentist, ophthalmologist, obs-gyn; all rolled into one.

Frankly I cannot vouch for his experience in plucking out tattered bits from oral cavities but he certainly is a local legend when it comes to directing such efforts to Vaginal Cavities. (Maybe Vaginal Dentata isn’t such a medical oddity after all.)

My opinion not withstanding, I have known the Mothers’ Union to vilify him on Sunday: ‘ashidwe pepo baya…!’ and toast to his health on Monday: ‘No daughter of mine…!’ But I digress.

What primary school might have taught me:

Myth: Kenyatta was a freedom fighter
Oxymoron: Nyayo Philosophy
Fact: Dental Formula

The average human adult has- Ceteris Paribus- 32 teeth. Last night I counted. The Potashian Dentral Formula gives a grand total of 27.

Obviously I needed mathematical tables to figure that out seeing that there were fractions of teeth and others whose roots weren’t squarely on the jaw. An AWOL incisor; half a pre-molar; an eighth of a moral- shrouded in a long suffering suppurating bundle of pain. There was also a half of canine whose private pain starts at its tangent with the alveolar stop… on and on ad infinitum.

Now that missing incisor, the last I saw it, tumbled into an unmarked grave in a ditch on Woodvale Grove. (I wonder how much the tooth fairy pays; I could use a little change for gaff…) In its place now a yawning gap to remind me of back then when I was cutting my teeth on Nairobi streets. Yes, that tooth fell in a battle for Street Supremacy at about that time when they hit Akasha for his 960 Million and Hash was cheaper than Safari Cane.

As for the other bits of teeth, well it must be natural attrition or maybe genetics, seeing that a cousin of mine- thrice removed on the distaff side- has bad teeth.

Some people will want to blame my dental status on things chewable but I must say that I have no patience to chew my way into a Cathine high. Besides, generally, I have always preferred to source my greens from a Kikuyu maid rather than a Meru youth.
Incidentally, those who know more about the west tell me that there exists a medical condition known as Bulimia Nervosa whose sufferers are at risk of damaging their teeth. Now this Bulimia thingy is whereby you acquire that otherwise elusive commodity called food, eat the food and then… and then… you force yourself to throw up. Jesus F. Christ! I wish I was rich enough to afford Bulimia. So what if the regurgitated acids were to mess my teeth- I could pretty well afford to have a dentist on my house stuff with Dr. Kinyua as shamba boy.

The only times I have thrown up, it was because I hadn’t eaten- then along came a can of Napshizzle… or two… or three…mwa…mwa…MWAURAAAA. Other times I threw up because I ate- yeah I ate at Baba Jimmy’s Café and Bicycle Repairs on a bad day and caught cholera, dysentery, typhoid… or some other undocumented Third World Disease.

In those instances while splayed on the Quack’s corridor waiting for Ex-GK Chloroquin, Paracetemol, or whatever other ‘placebo of the day’, dental carries are the least of my worries.

Bourgeoisie types tell me that it is a fact of life that if you put a pair of socks in the spin cycle, only one sock comes out of the other end. They also tell me that there is no pain like the pinch of new shoes. All right and dandy I say, but in my world there are no washing machines- unless you mean any person who wakes up next to me on Sunday morning… As for new shows, I do not suppose newly owned Gikomba Deluxe count.

As facts of life go, what I know is that teeth only ache at night; and as the Kikuyu say, there is no pain like the pain of a disease of the night. Now imagine The Potash laying his head on the sagging Vono bed after the hustle; suddenly, four devilish root canals demand treatment. Screaming…Pounding… Mamaye……..!

Dinda my Resident Street Pharmacist, in the city, says that there is a herb that will bring succour. Trouble is, the Government Chemist, The Health Minister, and The Police Commissioner are ready to shot him dead in disagreement.

So tonight, once again, I will have to grin and bear my pain…!


Sammie said...

So maybe its one of these hominids who nyimad you some of their dentals. How is it that these dudes always have their teeth intact when dug up? Is that why the village priests are up in arms?

There is a herb for your prolles lakini at WHO's expense? they want the money you pay them for their drugs!

Don_quixote's said...

In the world we live in now, the gap is so wide yet, someone will force themselves to vomit coz they feel fat or that they dont look good, in the same instance there is someone who wonders if they could ever get fat for lack of food, or what they will eat the next day for that matter.

Society as it is cant help itself let alone fend for it self, when there are millions starving, there is millions being spent on wars that just bring on more suffering to the multitude and goverments that are inept and that are there just to fill their own pockets.

It makes one wonder is there is hope for humanity at all, what with global warming, wars and hunger and disease it seems like we are all doomed........unless we are the lucky few that can afford to leave the dinning table and head for the tiolet.

Girl next door said...

Pole! few things can keep one up with as much misery as a toothache.

Vee said...

I dunno which is worse... the night pain or daylight one as those surgical steel implements are being aimed at your mouth... pole lakini

Anonymous said...

Hey Potash.

I was just taking a stroll around the old neighbourhood.

So much has changed so quickly.

Good to see you're still here though, still writing, still provoking...:-)



POTASH said...

Sammie... ish those church dudes, eh washana naye... you know I have no nice things to tell them. But i know bones don't lie- well sometimes they are rigged but still: it is accepted by the mzungus who invented the religion that evolution doesn't negate the creation story. Poor Africans- shingo kupita kichwa!!

Eeh, WHO...hehe... you are looking too far away... we have a ministry of health, don't we?

OOwiii... now Don you have gone thrown me off tangent. And to think i am on my way to the Dandor a dumpsite today. The lives we live. You know the toilet thingie, there is peeps who would do anything to live at Choo namba nane.

Yeah girl...ask me I will tell you about it!

Vee... wish I could tell you about the surgical instruments, well unless you come for the harambee, then i might be able to experience the dentists implements.

Rombo...yeah... *hug. Where you been. Actually peeps been asking around for you.

mshairi said...

If your toothache is not a metaphor for something else (I wasn’t sure, you see), may I suggest cloves as a stop-gap measure? The taste of cloves is not too bad and they take away the pain for a blessedly long time.

POTASH said...

yes... yes Mshairi, The Potash has an uncanny penchant for the allegorical.

Ish jana I had a discussion over a Napshizzle with this guy who was telling me that karafu has calcium. So that is what he uses to chew. Lakini he was like some peeps use Mosquito coil... that is one story I have to investigate.

P.S: About autographs, look out for Kwani 4... when it drops!!