Sunday, June 20, 2010

Say, "Cheese."

I've talked about the effects of aging before.  It's a fascinating topic.


You know, when you're young, all you really hear about, in regard to aging, is some drivel about gray hair and a few wrinkles.  And if you're like me, you grew up hearing trivializing things about it like Clairol's ad campaign, "I'm gonna wash that gray right out of my hair," or that laugh lines are okay; so what if you look like you have a ventriloquist's dummy's hinged mouth – it shows character.  No, for some reason, no one talks about the other stuff.


It's not until you begin to undergo certain changes for yourself that you realize you're becoming part of a secret club: induction through experience.   Now there may not be a secret handshake among club members, but there are definitely tell-tale signs that you are one of them.  Club members don't typically go braless or wear sleeveless garments, for example.  Recent inductees may eschew these sensible guidelines and walk around without any mammary support – their nipples aligned with their navels – or in tank-tops with triceps flapping like raglan sleeves; but this doesn't mean they're any less part of the club.


What I don't understand is why all the secrecy? Why not let us know what's in store? What's wrong with a little heads-up?  Is it because it's just too horrifying to imagine, when you're young, what happens to your aging body, yet manageable to deal with, somehow, when it happens slowly, over time, in little increments? Maybe that's it.


Anyway, if you think of this aging thing like karate and with each new level you get another belt, then I'd guess I must be about a green belt already.


The latest development has me asking, "What's going on in my mouth? What is happening with my teeth?"  I think they're on the move.  I don't know how this is possible.  I haven't had any teeth extracted and, as far as I know, my mouth is still the same size so… how is it they're moving?  I obviously don't know the answer to that question; I just know that they are.  Things are forever getting stuck between them now.


There was a time in my life when, over a meal, I could freely converse and even let out a toothy grin, in response to something amusing, without any fear of sickening my dining companion by exposing some uneaten particle wedged between my teeth.  But, as any floss-carrying green-belt knows, those days are over.


And what is it about the mouth that distorts all size relativity? You know what I'm talking about: A caraway seed feels like a 2x4, a raspberry seed like a boulder, and a strand of chicken feels like the entire bird has taken roost amid the molars. 


Did you ever have a piece of lettuce or tomato skin cling to the roof of your mouth?  It feels like a tarp.  This doesn't happen to me often, but when it does, it actually incites mild waves of panic as I first begin to try and discreetly remove it with my tongue.  My eyes naturally begin to dart around as I focus on dislodging the suffocating blanket that is holding steadfast to my upper palate.  These episodes almost always end with me in a cold sweat saying, "Exth-thcoothez me, there'thz thumthing sthtuck in my mouth."  Earnestly repressing my gag reflex, I've often no choice but to distastefully remove the gossamery offender with my finger.


Well, I veered off a bit, but there you have it.  I've entered the tooth migration stage of this inevitable process, but I'm not worried.  So what if I now have a tiny spit-hole between my two front teeth; add that to my fang on the top right and my crowded English choppers on the bottom and my smile is still just as dazzling as ever!  Say, "Cheese." 


Wondering what the next belt will be… 

~ M.