Jamie Mandel is one Brooklyn barkeep whose bark is worse than his bite.
But he’s hoping to change all that during a 15-hour ping pong tournament this weekend, when he’ll be raising money to pay for the teeth he lost in car accident.
At the “Pong for Teeth” event at B61 on Columbia Street, opponents will pay at least $20 for the privilege of playing the man they call “Gums” — and supporters can also sponsor him by the hour in hopes of landing Mandel a new set of choppers.
“This is so I don’t have to be in debt,” he said.
At 34-years-old, Mandel is certainly not long in the tooth — indeed, he doesn’t have many. That condition dates back to 1995, when the Virginia native was driving home from a Doobie Brothers/Steve Miller concert in his home state and a drunk driver barreled into his car, knocking nine teeth out of mouth.
It took Mandel three years before he was finally able to replace his smile, but a year ago, doctors had to yank out the faux choppers because his bone and gums receded around the metal implants that held the teeth in his jaw.
Insurance will only pay the first $2,000 towards replacements — a tiny portion of the expected $35,000 surgery.
As such, Mandel is champing at the bit to take on all comers, including actress Susan Sarandon, co-owner of Spin, a Manhattan ping pong club.
“Give me two games. No — give me three games. Best of three. Susan Sarandon, I dare you!” he says with a not-so-toothy grin on his already-legendary video.
The gummy dare, first reported by Gothamist, has yet to be acknowledged by the scarlet-maned starlet.
Mandel and friends hatched the fundraiser idea one night while flapping their gums at the bar.
“Jamie has always been an unusual person,” said Anthony Capone, co-owner of B61, Mandel’s employer for the past nine years. “He has his own outlook on the world.”
Pong for Teeth at B61 [187 Columbia St. at Degraw Street in Red Hook, (718) 643-5400], April 30 from 1 pm to 4 am.
©2011 Community News Group
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