The Other Side
[Akotowaa’s note: Grandpa shared this with me when he came back from the dentist’s a few days ago. Now I’m sharing it with the world. But each story needs to have an input from its teller. Hence, I’ve put flesh on and embellished the truth, as I tend to do.]
Charles Seth Ofori once lived in Rome. While he was there, he had strange friends who did strange things. One day, a friend of his told him a story. It went like this:
“There was a man who loved to eat at the restaurant on one street. He ate there so often that all the staff and other regular customers were on very good terms with him. He gave them good business, after all.
His only weakness, perhaps, was his sweet tooth. He really couldn’t get enough of the dentally dangerous. They did warn him that one day, it could have adverse effects on him, but he never listened.
Then, one day, the unfortunate befell him. As he bit into one savoury, jam-filled tart, he felt an unbearable pain close to the back of his mouth. He dropped the tart, shocked. He tried to take another bite, but the pain only seemed, if possible, to get worse.
“What’s the matter?” asked a friend, looking at him with concern.
Mr Sweet-Tooth tried to explain the sensation.
“Ah,” said the friend. “It seems you have been cursed with the very thing you swore you’d never get: a cavity.”
If he hadn’t been sitting down, he’d have probably dropped to his knees on the ground, and, with his hands raised in despair, screamed, “Noooo!” or the Italian equivalent. Anyway, despite his denial, he found himself at the dentist’s in a few days’ time.
Fortunately for him, he was a relatively wealthy man. Paying for the dental treatment wasn’t really a problem for him. So, in no-time, he had his cavity filled and was ready to be on his way. Since he’d had the cavity on his left side, that was the only part of his mouth the dentist had worked on.
“So just remember,” said the dentist as his client departed, “to eat on the other side.”
Mr Sweet-Tooth nodded his comprehension.
Later that afternoon, when he felt peckish, he made his way not to his regular restaurant, but to the one directly opposite, although it almost broke his heart to do so. Since the restaurants were in plain view of each other, some shocked staff members from his regular restaurant saw him do it.
“Don’t worry,” they said to each other. “He’s our most loyal customer. It’s probably just a one-time thing. He’ll be back soon.”
But the next day, they saw him dine with their rival again – and the day after that, and the day after that. Finally, unable to take it anymore, the manager of the restaurant decided to personally confront him. So, one day, as he was walking out of the rival restaurant’s door, the manager stopped him.
“My good man,” he said. “We’ve noticed you haven’t been eating with us lately. If it’s a fault of ours, you needn’t be afraid to inform us. We’d love to have you eating with us again. If we’ve offended you in any way, we deeply regret it. It’s the pasta, isn’t it? We can fix the puttanesca sauce. I KNEW it was too spicy…”
If left on his own, he would probably have gone on for a long time yet, but Mr Sweet-Tooth cut him off: “Oh no, it has nothing to do with you.”
“Then what happened? Why have you abandoned us?”
“Because after he filled up my cavity, my dentist told me to eat on the other side.”
The manager, after digesting this, developed a sudden compulsion to slap him, but seeing as how that would have been unforgivably rude, resigned to face-palming himself.”
Charles Seth Ofori, sitting in the dentist’s chair at age 81 for his check-up, was told by his dentist to “eat on the other side.” He cracked up, remembering the story. But all the dentist saw was a batty old man with a tooth problem.