I hate one tooth in my mouth. The snaggly one that looks whiter than the others when I smile.
I hate it not because it’s imperfect. I hate the tooth because it’s the symbol of my ability to take stubborn to the level of stupid.
When I was in fifth grade, I went to the orthodontist and had four braces put on my front teeth because of a ten percent overbite. Over the next three years, I would get a brace for every tooth (wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out even though the only ones that were crooked were the six bottom teeth. I’m pretty sure that the SNUGGLY SIX are the only thing about me that likes to snuggle.)
I also got some sweet headgear. And a lip bumper that tried to keep my bottom lip from the SUNGGLY SIX to give them more room. Or to give me a huge complex about my increased chances for drooling. Probably both.
But the rubber bands and retainers and head gear fell to the wayside a few months before I turned fourteen. I cut off my permed hair, grew a body (kinda), and got off my braces. All of them.
Well, all of them except for one piece of metal. A permanent small band on the back of my six bottom teeth to keep them straight.
I had a beautiful smile, and no one was the wiser. Except me. Me and my tongue that flicked and pushed and hated that thin metal bar.
When I was nineteen and at my yearly orthodontist appointment, I asked for it to be taken off. I based it on all my knowledge of dentistry. Which would be none.
Orthodontist who could thank me for his pool: Your mouth can continue to shift until your are twenty-four.
Me: You want to leave this bar in my mouth another four years?
Richie-Rich, DDS: Yes.
The Donald Trump of Teeth: Yes.
Me: No. I’ve had metal in my mouth for nine years. I’m not willing to do it for another five. I want to feel the back of my bottom teeth!
Why? Why did I want to feel the back of my bottom teeth. Who in God’s great green Earth feels the need to do that?
And for the first few years, it was GREAT. The back of my bottom teeth is fabulous. It’s still fabulous! I’m so attracted to it that I can’t stop pushing my wonky tooth! The tooth that decide to pull ahead in the race to my lip about five years after I insisted on getting rid of the stupid metal bar.
So instead of having perfectly straight teeth after nine years of braces and retainers and sending my orthodontist on fabulous vacations, I have a tooth trying to leave my mouth, a tongue backing it up and an inner debate as to whether I want braces again.
Oh, and of course, a reminder every single day of my ability to take stubborn to the level of stupid. Awesome.