When I Wake Up in the Morning and it's Quarter to Seven
I make no secret of the fact that my mother is both a dental hygienist and certifiably insane. Having my married my dad, who, thanks to an unfortunate birthing incident involving two things that should never be used in conjunction, one of which you typically use on salads, has what are medically referred to as "fucked up teeth", well, she knew a lost cause when she saw one, and so was able to channel her full oral neuroses onto me. I am certain that when I sprang forth from her womb, it was Down's-be-damned, the first thing she had the doctor count was teeth. Anyway, amongst the other dental crimes committed against me--Mentadent users, be grateful that for every minty mouthful you spit into the sink, there was a 12-year-old guinea pig out there who, upon trying the prototype formula, was somehow able to make her searing, abraded lips formulate the words "IT BURNS SO BAD"--I was also subjected to harsher than normal standards for oral hygiene, including but not limited to random plaque-stains, flossing under duress not by my own hands, rejection of romantic others on the basis of "bad teeth", and several occasions in which I was pulled out of a group of friends, handed a toothbrush from the secret flap of skin that my mother had installed for just such a storage purpose, and told to "go brush".
My mother was also responsible for cleaning the teeth of a large portion of the village and town in which I grew up; a naturally chatty woman, I would dread my friends going in for cleanings, as they would inevitably come back with some personal information that she had spilled in the interest of full disclosure of her teenage daughter’s most secret shames. When the guy that I had a crush on for three years came back all pearly white and informed me that my mother had let loose that I both drooled in my sleep and liked the taste of communion wafers—two points that to this day, I cannot possibly connect in any sort of logical, linear conversation—I had to lay down the law about what was and was not OK to talk about to other people, which was Nothing and Everything, respectively.
Well, you know, with peanut butter on them.
When I return home for Christmas, my mother still checks my toothbrush at night to see if it is wet so that she will know if I have brushed, and if I have forgotten to brush/wet my toothbrush, I will be pulled out of bed and made to do so. Once I reached college age, I was able to assert myself enough in the bathroom to refuse to brush in front of my mother, who keeps a running color commentary on stroke methods and the latest research in brushing technology. The only thing more disappointing to my mother than when I got my first of many cavities is when I finally came out and admitted that I prefer manual toothbrushes to the myriad state-of-the-art electric toothbrushes she had been providing me with over the years, and that I had even been using a regular old Oral-B under her roof.
Nature did not intend me to stick that in my mouth.
I have sealants on teeth that were not meant to be sealed, and probably are not sealed on any other human in existence; if mine is the body they find encased in ice 150,000 years from now, it will seriously fuck up anthropology. These came during visits in which my mother would keep me in the chair for multiple hours under the guise of “just trying something”. I still go through the “treasure chest” in her office to take my prize when I get my teeth cleaned, not because I’m not stocked on Super Balls and fake tattoos, but out of spite for those children that get to sit in her chair and not get sworn at/have facial imperfections pointed out. I used to open my Christmas stocking and find the latest high-tech flossers and toothbrushes; I once received a care package at college that contained a giant, Goldbergian device with a post-it note that read “The Rolls Royce of tongue scrapers! Let me know if your friends want one.” I did not have braces as a child, due to lack of funds and the geographical reaches to which one must travel in order to find an orthodontist office in Northern NY; instead, I was given a tongue depressor and weekly checkups at the LaZBoy, then told which teeth to “pull” and which to “push” as they came in. Despite losing my final two canines at the not-in-the-least-bit awkward age of 16, they’re actually almost perfectly straight, and when I look back on old pictures, I’m able to cringe myself in half for dozens of reasons other than a metal mouth.
A fondness for fabric paint being one of them.
The point is, if she finds out, and she will, oh yes she will, it won’t be pretty. I'm sure it'll go away.