Here is a lesson that I think everyone must learn: nobody’s perfect. Not even me,
although I seem pretty cool, I’ll give you that. Everybody has something that makes them an individual, it makes them who they are. I promise that this after-school special nonsense is almost over, but I just thought it would be nice way for me to introduce a story about an imperfection that is fairly common among the human race- that of crooked teeth.
I, like most of the pre-teen population of the world, had crooked teeth. And, as is the most common method of correcting THAT particular problem, subsequently got braces to make my teeth nice and straight, like every person in a chewing gum commercial ever. As most of you probably know, braces are not a walk in the park. If you are one of those lucky genetic-jackpot winners who never had to experience the delightful sensation having of tiny metal squares glued on every single tooth and held together by a wire under extreme tension all in an effort to create the perfect smile, let me officially tell you: braces are not a walk in the park. Unless the park is full of poison ivy and you are being chased through it at night by a lizard-person desperate to sell you Encyclopedia sets. I may be exaggerating, but I think you understand what I’m saying.
My bout with braces was a particularly interesting one for two reasons: first, it was accelerated due to a need for other necessary dental procedures to be scheduled within a year, thus making every single “tightening” session extra-painful. Second, and probably unsurprising if you’ve been a careful reader, I have tiny teeth- much in the same way that I have tiny hands and tiny veins. This means that those little metal squares just barely fit on my itty-bitty teeth, and that every dental assistant ever has felt the need to inform me that my teeth are abnormally small. Even, according to one particularly-excited individual, “smaller than the teeth of some children!” As though that’s something I want to hear in addition to having my teeth forced into position by such an innocent-looking metal wire at a breakneck pace.
When my braces were eventually removed mere 10 months later and I walked back to the sinks to rinse the tooth-glue out of my mouth, I wondered what I would look like with straight teeth. I spit out the lukewarm water and cautiously peered at myself in the mirror, breaking into an unsure smile. What was my first thought, you ask? You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “Holy cow, I am one attractive individual with straight teeth!” or “Yowza, I should star in chewing gum commercials!” or, at the very least, “Hey, my mouth isn’t full of shiny metal anymore!” but you’re wrong. I didn’t think any of those things. Upon catching sight of myself in the mirror, smiling without those little metal squares on my teeth, I could only think one thing: “I have my dad’s teeth!”
I was in shock, I can’t describe it any other way. I was simply baffled by the idea that I had always had my dad’s smile without even knowing it. That they were lying in wait in my mouth, out of line but there nonetheless, without my knowledge! It had never even occurred to me that people could have teeth like their parents, if I’m being perfectly honest, but they do. Believe me. And mine are my dad’s. And I like them very much.
Now that I’ve dropped that bomb of knowledge, you will undoubtedly be consumed with the need to determine which parent shares your teeth. I’ll let you get on with that. You’re welcome.