Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Tooth...

I was on my way back from grabbing a bite to eat when I saw something glinting in the light of a street lamp. Having found a plethora of treasures on the streets of New York, I bent down to retrieve it. Just before I touched it, I realized that it was a TOOTH! Judging from the size and shape, it was probably a human tooth at that. It was large, intact, and looked to have been freshly displaced.

Creeping along my spine was that feeling I got when we went to the Mütter Museum our last day in Philadelphia. That feeling of an awareness of physical ownership. This tooth was once in someone's skull; it was in their mouth, crewed their food, and had their words slip past it. It belonged to someone as surely as the bodies in the museum once belonged to someone. It had a story behind it.

How did this get here? Who had this belonged to? Where was the person now, whom this had come from? It made me think of all the sad stories next to the specimens in the museum. Still some of those stories haunt me and I can't help but think of them and how difficult many of their lives were.

I called 3-1-1 and they said they were going to send someone out to investigate the area, but that I shouldn't worry. Apparently bits and pieces of people are found all the time in the city.


melanie brooks said...

ooh, that's creepy!

We almost went to the Mutter Museum on our last day in Philly too. But Chuck and Jeremy decided, probably rightly so, that I would be too grossed out for them to enjoy it. I'm wimpy.

We went to the antiques district instead, and had a great dinner and beer at Monks.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

well, if it makes you feel better, we watch 30 Rock on tv , and the female lead on last weeks show was sitting at a table and a tooth flew out of her mouth and the guy who was standing there said , "Stressed out, huh?"

I bet it happens to the best of us!!!

Ann said...

Two books you may want to check out someday:

"The Human Body Shop" by Andrew Kimbrall


"Body Bazaar" by Lori Andrews and Dorothy Nelkin.

Jane Ann Wynn said...

And here I am making another one of my Wisdom Tooth Boxes! Eeek!
(Over on my Flickr account)

*I love the Mutter- I must tell you- that Thomas- having a background/career in Medical Photography- were given a "behind" the scenes tour of the Museum several years about when the curator Gretchen Worden was still alive. It was truly fascinating! I really miss her. She was an amazing woman...

Hurray for the Odd!

And GOOD for you for having Eagle Eyes! Some of the best treasures are found at our feet!!!

J a n e

Anonymous said...

Wickedly fun!

Pamela Buckley said...

i am strangely envious that you found a tooth...i live in PA & loved (although was quite nauseated by) the Mutter Museum.
I save weird stuff I find like my rabbits lost whiskers & post dated insects. One time, back when i was married, I made a necklace out of my (now ex)husbands hair after he cut it from very long to short. It sounds creepy but it was actually quite beautiful (although it is still rather creepy, too!).
A random tooth is kind of spooky but I still think it's kind of cool.