All growing up, from the second you come flying out of your mother’s body, they stress to you the importance of good dental hygiene.
Granted, when you’re at such a literal age of infancy, you don’t understand what they’re saying because now you’re cold and there’s this goop on you and if there were newborn thought translators, surely they’d say “SCREW THE TEETH TALK?! WHY ARE MY BALLS SO BIG AND PINK?!” Considering you came out male, of course.
That was the poetic introduction I’d convinced myself fit perfectly with the story of the time I had to have oral surgery and how to blame your parents for such terrible circumstances with your teeth. ‘Cept it wasn’t bad brushing habits my parents passed on to me, it was their chomper genes. And it also wasn’t the perfectly fitting introduction I dreamt it would be.
I lived my entire youth without tooth issues beyond a cavity here or there as a result of my affinity for sugar in everything from my beverages to my Philly cheesesteaks. Most people carry around a personal salt shaker to up the sodium level on their ‘under salted’ foods, I was rocking the sugar packets. But not really. That’s another horrendous shot at a set up.
It wasn’t until around 13 years ago I was lying back in the chair, blood rushing to my head because of the mandatory head stand position they have the recline button set to on that thing, that they discovered a new tooth on my x-ray. A tooth growing sort of more on the roof of my mouth rather than in line with the rest of my molars.
I didn’t know it at the time, but as the TV began airing shows centered around medicine and freakish conditions, I convinced myself that I’d absorbed the tooth of a twin in utero. But nothing else. Just the lost twin’s tooth. The least I could have also absorbed was her great skin and/or better boobies. Whatever. The tooth it was so I went with it.
So here I am with this unexpected extension of myself, but what was I supposed to call it?
In a less than loving turn of events, instead of naming my twin’s tooth Mandy or Genevieve, I referred to it as “The Freak Tooth” or “My Roof Tooth”. The bratty name was due in part to the fact that I didn’t have a fully functioning twin, just her tooth that was equal parts rebellious and a really late bloomer.
Years and years passed along with dentist after dentist; all of them captivated by the freakish tooth I quickly learned was one I was supposed to have all along and not an extra by any means.
Thank you, dentists of the world, for debunking my Hollywood-based theories.
Thanks a lot.
Fast forward to a lovely family vacation to Arizona to celebrate the union of my dad and his new bride at a breathtaking wedding. We’re going to stay at the resort because errbody’s got time for a vacation these days, and plus there’s a certain six-year-old who believes he is a fish that really comes to life in hotel swimming pools. Okay, so maybe ‘fish’, is a bit of an exaggeration considering he wades on the steps, plugs his nose & dips his chin up to his lips into the water and carries on for days that he’s ‘basically a scuba diver’. Clearly the child of a sun bather.
It’s been such a great day. We road tripped across the desert, only hearing are we there yet 5,927 times before reaching the state line. After checking in, my sister and I did a little foot pampering that involved a relaxing 45 minute wait for pedicures because they forgot about us and then I still left a 25% tip for…you know what…I was on vacation and ready to watch terrible cable TV in my jammies and eat donuts in bed.
Back at the hotel, we all settled in and Dylan, the child who refuses to go to bed before 1am on any given night, drifted off to sleep faster than ever. I immediately turned to Steve and said, “When we buy a house, an Olympic-size pool that’s three feet deep and made of steps is a must. And also wood floors. I like those too.” Now it was time for me to become the mayor of Snoozetown.
As the sweet, lullaby of “Crazy Train” bounced through my head, I too managed to slip into a majestic, vacation approved slumber.
And then it happened.
Not a few hours after I’d fallen asleep, I shot up out of bed with the most excruciating pain in the left side of my face. Not knowing and completely knowing all at once that it was that freakish, bullshit tooth, I started reprimanding the thing. Yes. I was maternally shouting at a tooth in my mouth at 10p in a hotel room and, goddammit, Francis, it felt good. You know, for not feeling good AT ALL.
Blah, blah, blah. I had to have surgery.
They put me under because basically no one wanted to get kicked in the face by my hearing-all-the-things induced anxiety attack. The doc shoved the IV in my right arm and the next thing I remember is waking up six hours later in my bed at home.
Did anyone touch my boobs?
Did I touch someone else’s boobs?
Who’s to know? Well the person taking care of me knew and reassured me that the only damage I did was blink slowly, drool a little bit, attempt two high kicks and make tasteless unconscious coupling jokes.
I guess you could say I was like a hero of sorts. A hero whose only super power is blacking out and still managing to carry on relatively coherent conversations with people. And maybe I also wear a badass cape and save the world under general anesthesia, but am way humble because I don’t remember I did it at all. You’re welcome, Gotham City.
Now there’s just a gaping hole in the roof of my mouth preventing me from eating all of the delicious things I like to eat like normal, adult people food. If you’ve never had the pleasure of undergoing oral surgery, post-op food rules are basically, eat like a picky toddler. I never, ever want to drink another milkshake as long as I live, until I totally want to drink one.