Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Man With A Crooked Smile

I was raised in the kind of poverty that wasn’t oppressive enough to make an emotional dent. It was the type of want that prevented new clothes. I wore my older brother’s clothes as he grew larger. Often the pants had patches on the knees. We didn’t go to restaurants. If we went on a vacation it consisted of visiting the local lake for a weekend of camping out and cooking over an outdoor grille. Genuine world travelers were we.

I was loved back then and the same people that loved me then love me still. Some are gone of course, but I trust they still come around and accept me despite their graduate status.

One thing that was not available to me was dental care beyond the basics. It hasn’t turned out so bad really; I have a handful of fillings now later in life. But the word orthodontics was unknown in our house, at least I had never heard of the word until many years later. I have paid for orthodontics, writing check after check for my kids. Tomorrow my day comes. At 55 years of age I will have a set of braces placed on my teeth. It happens tomorrow morning (Wednesday). Our blog friend Leonard Leonard said I should write about this. I was hesitant. I am a little modest about my teeth I suppose. They are well taken care of, clean and white. The bottom ones are more crooked than the top. Most of the time when I smile and show only top teeth it looks normal for a baby boomer I suppose.

Still writing about something so personal seemed difficult for me so I decided not to do so.

I changed my mind this morning.

Isn’t it interesting the way that small things we say to one another can have such a dramatic impact? We talk a lot of nonsense to one another, particularly bloggers, but every now and then someone will say something to you that makes a bullseye. Not the type bullseye that Warren Buffett describes. He says too often we shoot the arrow and then walk up and draw a circle around the arrow, then draw great comfort in our shooting accuracy. Instead I am talking about a true bullseye, a comment that hits the mark of our consciousness and strikes deep, sometimes good and sometimes ill.

That happened to me this morning and it created the springboard for me to be able to write about this experience in my life. The comment came from my little brown eyed girl here at home. We were talking about the details of the event; sore mouth, sore teeth and pain killers. She stood looking at me for a second longer than my instincts might expect her to and then she said, “You know, I think I am going to miss that crooked little smile of yours.”

The power of this statement didn’t hit me for a while, but when it did I knew I needed to write about it. For me it meant unconditional love was surrounding me. Isn’t this what we all seek? To know that we are loved despite our imperfections? To know that someone loves us so much that our imperfections are not only forgiven, but possibly even incorporated into the base equation for that acceptance and love? For me it turned into a spiritual signal moment

To feel her love despite my imperfections, and to have it expressed in such a disarming and simple fashion, this was my gift from the brown eyed girl today. It’s priceless to me.

Someone said grown men don’t cry?

Sometimes the man with the crooked smile does.


Blogger Rick said...

Dude, the smile's still gonna be crooked, just the teeth will be straight. ;-)

I know what the brown-eyed girl means, though. I shaved my moustache once and the middle-aged wife asked me to put it back.

Best of luck with the hardware!

October 17, 2006 at 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, seven, what a dear she is. And she probably didn't have the least idea of what the impact would be. I've always found it difficult to accept that kind of unequivocal acceptance. I don't know why. It has always been hard for me to believe that someone could love me in spite of my flaws. I *know* it, but I don't know how to *accept* it. You're a lucky man. I 'spect she a lucky lady, too.

October 17, 2006 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Yep - she most certainly deserves to be cherished.

All I'm sayin' about the braces is WEAR THE RETAINER afterwards.

Thanks for sharing.

October 17, 2006 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Ilias- said...

How sweet my friend. What wonderful winding words and teachings and sharing here in Seven-land. Beauty surpasses the physical I do reckon. And I will still like you, no matter what your teeth status is. :^)

October 17, 2006 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Yes, unconditional love is what we all seek. Lucky you...you found it!

Agree with Jenn, wear the retainer. Also, keep the painkillers close you will need them!! Good luck!

October 17, 2006 at 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 17, 2006 at 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 17, 2006 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I can relate...I didn't see a dentist till I was in my teens because we just couldn't afford it. Only reason I went then was because I had a toothache.

And I think you have a terrific smile, Seve! I can't imagine it being any nicer! :)

(And I had NO IDEA when you got braces on, there were pain killers involved!!! Wow! I think I'll leave my crooked...;)

"unconditional love"
Pretty sweet stuff, isn't it??? ;)

October 18, 2006 at 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

7, in following your journey to fix a few things (and my journey to fix a few of my own), I am reminded of Oscar Wilde's Portrait of Dorian Grey. No matter how much I try to fix the outside and make it as pleasant as possible for others to admire or endure, I see a different image. My long deceased grandmother in her kind and mentoring fashion, would say that people always see you differently than you see yourself. You have been pretty darn transperent with all of us Blogheads. Sweet BEG sees all of you, but may not have to look too deep for the crooked little smile.

October 18, 2006 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger patti_cake said...

Awww that is so sweet. I heart BEG, truly I do!
I only got my braces because of TMJ. Despite the fact that my siblings used to taunt me with "bucky beaver" and "bugs bunny" but I never entertained braces until the pain of TMJ. I am self-conscious about them though.

October 18, 2006 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

I know exactly what you're feeling. We rarely had dental care as children and it shows now because of it.
I will also be getting braces in the next year or so, at the age of 38 :)

October 18, 2006 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

To All:
Thanks for all your kindness and support. I just returned from the appointment. The top braces were put on, the lowers come later. It feels really funny. Not ha ha funny...you know what kind of funny I mean.......

October 18, 2006 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger patti_cake said...

Pictures! Pictures! We want pictures!
Definitely not ha~ha funny at all. That is a freaky feeling and the taste... blech.

October 18, 2006 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I know it's a long time to wait but when you get them off your teeth will feel soooo slimy and HUGE!

I can still remember when I got my braces. I would bite down really hard because there would be an instant of relief after the pain that shot through my head. Just a little tip. :-)

October 18, 2006 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Seven said...

Surely everyone is tired of my mug. And yes, they used some adhesives and primers that tasted AWFUL.

Thanks for the tip. I will practice that trick wise guy. Tonight it all just feels so strange!

October 18, 2006 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

Bad: This reminds me of the fact that I need to go to the dentist.

Good: You are at your most poetic here, and I read your blog constantly. In a way, I'm at a loss for words.

October 18, 2006 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

I don't know if they still give out that little packet of wax..if they do, use it. It really helps with that feeling that your cheeks and lips have been exposed to barb wire.

October 19, 2006 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

Sweet Storms,
I'm wearing a small ball of wax on both molar sides right now! Simple solutions giving big relief.

October 19, 2006 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

You are always so supportive and kind and I consider your compliments about writing to be my personal treasure. Thank you.

October 19, 2006 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Reach said...

Though I can not remember the last time that I have cried, I must say that a grown man has the confidence when exposing his feelings. Also, I do know some women who find adult braces attractive on a man, in a teenage way.


October 19, 2006 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Grant said...

Braces suck! I had them for four years, from 12 to 16, thanks to an incompetent dentist. I finally insisted they come off, even though my teeth were (and still are) crooked.

Of course, if you have to go to a dentist, I suggest my beloved Ninja Bunny Dentist. She's worth the drive to Georgia. Excellent dentist - good skills, slim fingers, and she listens to her patients - plus she's still the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.

On second thought, you're too attractive and successful. Stay the hell away from my dentist. I've got a spork with your name on it. As a former member of law enforcement, you naturally understand that, in the right hands, the spork is the deadliest instrument of destruction known to man.

October 21, 2006 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Ilias- said...

Just wanted to say hi to Seven. :^) Best, Ilias

October 23, 2006 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger a fish on a bycicle said...

the perfect gift, completely selfless

October 24, 2006 at 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can you email me....

I need to ask you something.


October 24, 2006 at 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, seven, where are you? Is your mouth keeping your fingers from working? Missing you, my friend!

October 25, 2006 at 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read the post yet...

but just had to comment on the picture... which is great!

But why are you smiling... you shouldn't be smiling , while in Edmonton. Nobody smiles when they go to Edmonton.... hahahaha

Just teasing! Just a bit of rivalry from a neighbouring city...

nice smile by the way!

October 29, 2006 at 10:53 AM  

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