Teef vs. Why I Can't Take a Nap Right Now
DO NOT LIE DOWN.
I so much want to lie down. Here I am with y'all for another 1.5 hours, so it's story-time.
I started this trouble when I was 18. After a weekend of nothing but Coors' Light on the beach at Port Aransas, I decided to go home and fix a hot dog. I woke up the next morning still at the neighbors' house. I went to the bathroom and cleaned the blood off my face and shrapnel out of my mouth; everyone playing cards in the kitchen could say only that I'd fallen on my face.
One of my front teeth was broken. I went around like that for a while and even survived a spectacular abcess. That's what you do in this country if you're too poor for proper medical treatment, what you do if your family structure is such that you can't support each other. My grandma finally footed the bill for a flipper - removable artificial tooth. A lot of people have them before getting implants. Some people can never afford the implants. Sometimes you just aren't used to the concept of investing in yourself and you don't know how that works. Either way, the flipper can become the permanent solution.
I was dating Tim at the time - you've heard me talk about him, my soul-mate, true partner, father to my daughter - he got a little freaked when my flipper broke and had to be replaced.
"This'll be the third mouth I've known you with!" People, whatever you do, find yourself a mate who actually thinks about what he's kissing. I miss that man so much sometimes, like today while I'm getting yet another mouth.
The Pakistani guided me through the process of getting the flipper replaced with a permanent bridge. I don't know if he did it because he understood my medical-care apprehension or because he was taking ownership of the mouth. Either way, it was a good thing he did for me. That bridge broke, possibly ironically, only a couple years after the marriage did.
My dentist understands my apprehension and is kind to me. We're going through a somewhat convoluted process to ensure that I am comfortable and feel safe and do not present to the world with a gap in my face. She understands both the physical and social challenges of her work.
Our society judges because it's what humans do - we can't help it. More specifically, we find pleasure in discovering patterns. And then we like some patterns better than others. We like to discuss our joy of pattern-finding with others, and eventually someone is afraid of anything that doesn't fit the pattern; some level of threat is identified.
People with good dental plans have dazzling smiles. We hand them the keys to the city, bling for bling. By the time you find out how vile or crazy they are, they've already done damage in your society. This is not to say that people with dazzling smiles are dangerous; please take a moment to check yourself, though. When you meet a stranger and they smile at you, what do you feel? Pleasure at perfectly-ordered rows? Revulsion? Do you start assessing whether that person should have been capable of caring better for their teeth?
Tim was right to identify my teeth as a part of the sum total of me, the person he loved, no matter their state. Even when it's a person you don't know, it's not correct to mentally disassemble their parts. Besides, like I always say, true art is in the graceful flaw. If you were perfect, you'd be boring.
If I had the socialist country I want, I wouldn't take away your right to make a profit. I wouldn't tell you how many boats you can own or whom to marry or divorce. I would make sure that anyone on public assistance had the dental care they needed, that their front row looked proper, because y'all are surely going to rate job prospects on how their gaps look.