…Or Are We Sometimes Punished by Following the Rules…?


I have not been a fan of most dentists, sorry to say.  Nice enough people, I’m sure, but their reputations forever impacted by the amazing classic film, “Marathon Man.”  I still think of each one I’ve had as having a vaguely Germanic accent, with a light shining down in my face, asking about their missing diamonds: “Is it zecret?  Is it zafe?” 


That is, until my current dentist:  she is drop-dead gorgeous.  In my head, I call her “Dr. Hot.”  To her face, she’s just “Doc.”

This trip, as she’s gazing into my open maw (which, in preparation, I have flossed, brushed, and rinsed thoroughly), she frowns and pokes in a spot somewhere near “ouch” and “oh my f***ing CHRIST, STOP!”  After I flinch, she pulls back.

“So, that hurt?”

If she hadn’t been, like, super-model hot, my response would have been “F*** yeah, it hurt, you friggin’ sadistic nutjob!  What the D!?!”  Instead, because of said hotness, I replied with, “Nah…”  Then after a masculine enough pause, I added, “OK, maybe a little.”

“Well, it looks like your teeth are shifting.”

I kind of chuckled at this.  For whatever reason, I thought of Mystique from the X-Men and blue teeth sliding around my mouth.  No idea why:  her teeth are white.

But I digress here now as I did then.   Dr. Hot is not smiling.  In fact, she’s looking concerned.  She turns to my x-rays and starts pointing out shadowy and light areas I’m finding it hard to identify:  it’s like a mountain range seen through night vision goggles.

“Ok, so you brush really hard, up and down for years, right?

“Yeah, until I got one of those electric toothbrushes you told me to get.”

“Well, you became my patient a bit too late, unfortunately.”  That got a real laugh out of me:  Dr. Hot is funny.  “All those years of brushing up and down means your gums are receding.”

“Doc, it was the ‘70s:  that’s what we were told to do.  Remember “Yuckmouth?”


“The rapper?”

And I think, There’s a rapper named ‘Yuckmouth?’   I gotta renew my Jet Magazine subscription.”

“Uh, no, not him.  I meant the cartoon…”  I catch myself when I realize that Dr. Hot is far too young to remember “Yuckmouth,” so I weakly add, “…and our parents told us to brush that way.  It was like the law, Doc.  The Law.”  My friggin’ Mom and her whole “brush ‘em good” teeth regimen was coming back to bite me squarely on my chocolate cheek.

“Well, you did a good job cleaning your teeth and you haven’t had many cavities, but it’s caused some problems.  Between it and the jaw clenching, your teeth are shifting and its opening up gaps.  I’d recommend a few things, but one of them is seeing an orthodontist.”

There’s a mental flash and I’m ten years old again, mouth brimming with silver, metallic mocking magnets, forced to wear headgear while running on the playground, watching a full grown male dentist strain to adjust braces that would give me a headache for days to come.


“But I had braces already,” I whine, because it’s so attractive to sound that way.

“I can tell, but you didn’t’ wear your permanent retainer after they were taken off.”

“I had to wear a retainer?  DAMN it!”

You see, my folks weren’t rich, so I got my dentist through a university (that shall remain nameless) that had a dental school.  This meant, in hindsight, lower costs with a drastically increased “brace wearing period” of four + years.  These were not fun years.  In the pass-along of seeing different dentists-in-training, the last guy didn’t really give me the clear direction on what to do to keep my teeth straight.  Or a retainer.  Plus, I was out of braces and just happy to be free of looking like one of The Borg.

She gets back to work on the cleaning, while I digest this bit of unexpectedly bad news.  After the appointment, I head home and google brace options, hoping some amazing advances had been made in brace technology that made them less awful (Invisalign was out:  that’s for that “mild corrective” jazz).  While there have been, my insurance only (partially) covers the Frankenstein versions of yesteryear.

So I start Googling “adults” and “braces.”  After coming across some interesting fetish sites (which, frankly, I didn’t understand the appeal of), I put my “SafeSearch” filter on and tried again.

And there he was:  Tom Cruise.  Porcelain, clear braces, as handsome as he ever was, sporting those barely-noticeable puppies in his middle years.


Then, my logic-chip reminded me of something I’d forgotten for about 3 seconds there:  I am not Tom Cruise.  I texted a single female friend of mine, visions of approaching a woman in a club and blinding her with the reflected light off of my cybernetic smile:

Me:        A question:  when a guy our age has braces, is it a turn-off or does it not matter?”

Her:       Dude, no one our age should have metal braces.


I’m still considering them, metal (cheaper) or clear (out of mother-f***ing POCKET), but waiting for a bit.  There’s no real rush.  If I’m going to be interviewing and meeting with folks professionally in the next few weeks, I’d rather have their first encounter with me not remind them of Jaws from the old Bond films.


That said, if you see me sporting a tin smile: please be kind.  And, in return, if I find myself strangely drawn to Scientology, I will notify you.  With literature.  Perhaps a copy of Dianetics.

That is all.


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