The Old Gold Tooth Scam   1 comment

The surface coating is fragile and only a few nanometers thick so must be reapplied from time-to-time

The surface coating is fragile and only a few nanometers thick so must be reapplied from time-to-time

In Atlanta the Summer of 1986, I was test riding a motorcycle I had considered buying when, on a curvy-hilly section of road in Ansley Park a car crossed into my lane and I was forced off. Hitting the kerb I was propelled over the handle bars into an old oak followed closely by the Bonneville which slammed into the back of my helmet; the face mask of the helmet split and part of it cracked my jaw as it relieved me of one of my teeth. A nurse just off duty from Piedmont hospital saw the incident and rushed over and, among other more pressing duties, tucked the tooth into the change pocket of my jeans.

I kept this item for years thinking maybe it could be an ear ring or other such decorative item. It would turn up from time to time and I eventually bothered to pick away the last of the meat that used to be me, but it wasn’t until we moved to England that I came up with a fun use for it.

At work we need to coat glass and fused silica capillaries with something inert and conductive so we use a gold sputter coater that employs an argon plasma to move gold atoms from a target to a sampling plate on which we arrange the caps. There’s extra room so I have been putting layers onto the tooth, as well.

coater  mid coating

With this item at a pub, I can do the old, “jeez, I thought I had more coins than that…I think I’m a bit short on the price,” move and say to the tender something like, “look, I’m good for it, let me leave you some collateral” then reach up into my mouth with thumb and forefinger (and the tooth hidden), get the tooth nice and damp, pull it out and drop it on the bar. No one is ever fooled for more than a half-minute, but everyone always falls for it for a moment.

Then I discover a fiver and pay off the beer; every time I’ve done it, someone buys the next one. So, I’m off to refresh the coating for Halloween.

finished tooth 2

One response to “The Old Gold Tooth Scam

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: DT #059, 28 Feb 2014 (Co-Op Fab Cab) | The endless British pub crawl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: