Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FTT Off Topic: Gambling At The Dentist

In which we discuss things that aren't really entirely about sports, under the theory that if you come here often enough, you just like my writing, or something, and I can spread my little wings and learn to fly. Or maybe I'm just working out new material for a future stand-up appearance; you make the call. Let's have at it, shall we?

I have a real problem with dentists, mostly from physical oddness. My mouth is fairly small and ratlike, with the teeth all jammed up in each other's business and crooked. I come from want and Shetland Human Genes, and as the youngest of three, enjoyed the benefits of a beaten down parent when it came to the optional expense that is cosmetic braces. It's never really held me back, beyond the semi-annual (yes, I don't go enough) retribution sessions in the chair. I once let a full decade ride between cleanings, to no great negative effect.

But when I went for my most recent cleaning (and if you have one of these and get out without cavities or the need for further work, doesn't that mean that skipping is just a winning bet where you cashed?), I had the distinctly enjoyable experience if the hygienist giving me a pass for a relative lack of flossing. Why? Because she had the damnedest time doing it, too, and hell, that's the way she makes a living. She eventually wound up shredding the floss, pulling it out of my choppers the long way, and just expressing amazement that I ever did this, or that even the super-expensive treated floss worked for me. Either that, or she was taking pity on me for being old, or making sure that I didn't have such a crappy experience that her business wouldn't see me for another good long while.

Plus, she told me that I was brushing too hard and need to ease up for the sake of my gums, and that was oddly flattering. I am so strong, so physically dynamic, that I'm a danger to my teeth. Pardon me while I flex in my bathroom mirror, the very picture of Too Much Man. With great teeth brushing power comes great teeth brushing responsibility, and I had an aunt that died once from a too-stiff brushing. Or something.

One more thing about that: kudos to the dental pushers out there for the post-session goodie bag of free trial products to try to get me to change up my lifelong product affiliation. Canny marketing, that. Too bad your product (a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums) tastes like ass, and made me want the mouthwash halfway through the job. The mincy little job that my over-powered arms can no longer do in the manner in which I was accustomed.

Which doesn't mean that I can let it go, of course, or continue to make my let it ride bet of office neglect. It's hard enough to get my kids to the dentist as is, without me looking like a hypocrite. And for the record, I don't really abuse my teeth, or punish the world with terrible breath. I brush and use mouthwash a couple of times a day, and even have a brush and toothpaste at my desk for post-lunch treatments or the ability to rid myself of coffee breath on days when I need the caffeine whip.

But it's just this: middle age requires you to spend more time on everything just to stay in place, and you have to set a positive example for your kids, even when you don't really want to. I go to the gym more now than I did when I was younger, and see less visible results. I take flu shots now, even though I hate needles and usually feel like I can't move my arm for two days afterward. I clean when the mess isn't mine, maintain things (the yard, mostly) that I don't really care about, dress better for work than I have to, and so on, and so on. There are other examples, but you get the gist. And you'll also be here one day soon, my friends...

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