Friday, August 28, 2009

Say Cheese

G-sizzle’s two front lower teeth recently poked through her gum. Depending on the facial expression she makes, you can get a quick glimpse of them. I try to pull her lower lip down to see the central incisors (thanks Google!) but she gets annoyed and swats my finger away with her forearm of sausage links. Upon seeing the teeth for the first time, a few questions arose in my head:

How long until I don a tutu and play the tooth fairy? What is the going rate for a lost tooth these days, adjusting for the recession and of course, the state of the current economy (the blame of all current evils)? What happens if she catches me as I’m trying to do the cash-for-tooth exchange?

Furthermore, what kind of orthodontic work is my daughter going to require as an adolescent? Considering the dental makeup of her mom and dad, it’s a good possibility that head gear, rubber bands, and awkward pronunciations of esses are in her future sometime between 5th and 8th grade.

What I notice most about braces is not the actual hardware. I mean, they’re noticeable but after a while, I forget about them. More so, it’s the awkward way that many braces wearers curtain their lips over the teeth in a feeble attempt to hide the evidence, as if to throw off the scent. “Nothing to see here folks. Just a normal set of pearly whites here. Move along.” All I can think of is a boxer before a fight after the trainer plops in the mouth guard before squirting some water in his mouth. Brett Favre and Tom Cruise always did this during their adult invisalign periods. Overall, though, no big deal.

At least the wife was fortunate enough to get braces as a kid. She apparently had a good set of bucked out choppers and did the whole 80’s grille circa Jennifer Grey in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Martha Plimpton in The Goonies (they had braces, right?).

Unfortunately or not, AIG did not have a dental plan when we were growing up so I was blessed/cursed/stuck with my gap on the upper deck. Honestly, I’ve been totally content with my gap for a long time. It took some time and teasing of course to get there. But at this point, if dentures are in my future, I’ll opt for a recreation of the gap as long as the replica isn’t Michael Strahan-esque.

Whether G grows buck teeth, a gap, or even a shit tooth, I am comfortable knowing that cosmetic orthodontic solutions abound. However, there is one dental fear for G-sizzle that I dread worse than zombies, Sarah Palin boosters, or Greta alone in a bar with a single, 55 year-old Casey O’Connell: the dreaded food in teeth phenomenon. My teeth crevices are like a Venus fly trap for food scraps, I swear. Might as well just pack a box of tooth picks with me 24-7.

While the horror and embarrassment of discovering a post-meal treat long after several conversations, laughs, and grins with multitudes of people are excruciating, it doesn’t compare to the frustration I experience when a friend or relative who admits he/she chose not to disclose that half a pound of chicken was visible in my teeth for all the world to see beginning 2 hours ago. And don’t even get me started on the red wine/wood teeth thing.

Greta, don’t worry kid, I got your back. Not only do we have dental coverage, but I’ll give you the head’s up when broccoli or poppy seeds decide to stick around in the fangs after a meal. Just make sure you tell me, too!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


While feeding a bottle to G as she sat on my lap the other day, I sensed that all too familiar vibration ripple on my thigh. As I pondered whether it was a dry fart or one with bonus features, I dare say a sly grin came across my daughter’s face. At that moment, I wanted to high five her.

Let’s be frank. Farts are funny. They sound funny. They smell funny. They are funny among friends and family. They are especially funny when occurring outside of friends and family. Well, okay, at least for me and anyone else with a juvenile sense of humor.

Just think about the word itself. FART. Could there possibly be another word that more appropriately fits its definition? “Flatulate” just doesn’t do it for me. I think queens and dukes “flatulate.” Normal folks fart. And Massholes fahht.

Usually, if a variety of euphemisms exists in lieu of a proper word, it’s a good indication that the proper word refers to a body part and/or bodily function. For example, penis and dong dong, vagina and vajajay, breasts and booby salad, scrotum and ball bag, defecate and poop, urinate and piss like a race horse, etc. Sorry, I digress.

As for farts, we’ve got a myriad of euphemistic substitutes for flatulence. One alternative is the polite “passing gas.” Then, there is the old school “breaking wind.” And, of course, don’t forget the 1980s elementary “cutting the cheese.” We even use euphemisms to temporarily distract bystanders within earshot of our gas passing such as the sincere “is that a squeaky board?” or the naturalist “did you hear that barking spider?”

Admittedly, I would classify myself as a quite gaseous person. Everything makes me fart. Beans of all sorts and pretty much any stereotypical Mexican food, no surprise. Frozen yogurt especially. Anything with garlic. Fresh fruit definitely. Multiple draft beers from dive bars, particularly. Wheat bread – no joke. For Gigi’s sake, I hope she didn’t get my colon. If she did, perhaps I write this to pre-empt some of the societal shame and embarassment of simply carrying out a function of the digestive system.

On a different note, farting is a good measuring stick to determine how tight you really are with a person. In other words, who is in your fart circle of trust? Is there really any better way of gauging how comfortable one feels in the company of another than to toot at will in their presence?

I released the hounds in front of the wife on our second date. I was tired of holding the gas in until it was safe to crop dust away. (We went out for pizza at Woody's.) I decided to cut to the chase (and the cheese, for that matter) by revealing my true gassy side. Fortunately, she didn’t hold it against me. And now we have our little girl.

So, G-Spice, I write this to you now. Thank you for letting me into your fart circle of trust. That is, at least while your diet is still just formula and rice cereal. Go ahead, pull my finger.