Saturday, July 19, 2008

First Thing: Dental Hygiene is More Important Than Love

Good dental hygiene is quite a bit more important than love. Not merely from the practical perspective, but also from the moral, spiritual, and aesthetic perspectives. Kurt Vonnegut wrote, in his great novel Galapagos, that although the human animal will still exist in 1,000,000 years, his teeth will continue to be the same shabby constructions that they are today. Heed this warning; for the love of God.

Practically speaking: You are on your bed, dangling your head over the edge and rotating it counter-clockwise in ever decreasing concentric circles as you jut your right leg up and out at a 28 degree angle ( always a 28 degree angle) and then back down, alternating legs in amateur balletic fashion. Vaguely squirrel-like noises punctuate a simultaneous humming and grunting as thick, hot tears stream down your freakishly swollen face. Stray fragments of hair and blood cling to your numb fingers; testament to the necessary hours of preparatory pulling and scratching. And why? Why are you doing this? Because your teeth are in such terrific pain that you've come to embrace the idea of an immediate and all encompassing apocalyptic cataclysm; and THIS is all that seems to help. You have no thoughts of love.

Morally speaking: It is a well known and established fact that deviant behavior is directly related to poor dental hygiene ( cf "Bad Teeth, Bad People" - New England Journal of Medicine, June 1994.) Anecdotal evidence abounds, and to those in the know it should go without saying that there is an unwritten, unspoken code in the prison systems of the world that allows for the segregation of prisoners based on their various oral contingencies. There is also archaeological evidence in some deleted sections from Sir James George Frazer's magnificent work "The Golden Bough" ( graciously shown to your humble author, by the Frazer estate, on condition that they not be quoted at length.) The sections were deleted as a result of the controversial nature of their subject matter; all things oral being very much taboo at the time of its printing. Suffice it to say that through his study of primitive tribes ( the Yacutl, Wargamo, and the hideous and malingering Pygmy Nation) Sir James documents no less than 43 instances of ritual orthodontic deification; not to mention the unfortunate practice of gingimuertification. Dental Hygiene has always been a useful tool for weeding out undesirables, while love is simply an inferior gauge for such delicate work.

Spiritually speaking: God has lovely teeth. Jesus, Aquinas, Augustine, Luther, could all chew through barbed wire. Saul had awful teeth before he became Paul, and now they are a vision. Spinoza's shone like the sun. Pol Pot's teeth exploded into fragments upon eating oatmeal. Hitler had an abscess. Mussolini could only chew on one side of his mouth. It is even said that Stalin had no teeth at all, but rather a series of official dentures made from the teeth of better men. Res ipsa loquitur.

Aesthetically speaking: Chicks dig nice teeth. So, perhaps, love does have something to do with it. Still, I can't help but feel that my dentist is thinking of the inscription above the gates to hell when she opens my mouth for yet another six hour ordeal: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.

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