Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Story of Teeth

I remember when I was 6 and my baby teeth were dropping like flies throughout the year. Remember how the falling off of baby teeth would form a border in the transition from being babies to being full-fledged children? Despite the initial horror of toothlessness (which I then overcame by trying not to show my teeth when I smile) I was delighted that I was finally getting rid of whatever categorized me as a baby. It was when I was trying to grow up too fast and had no discernible idea of what growing up meant. 

Anyway, I started a collection of baby teeth after deciding that I couldn't bear to throw away a part of myself. I think I was scared that all the teeth I dumped over the years would come together and form the phantom of a mouth I once had but without my lips or my tongue or my oral cavity. It would be two rows of vengeful, malicious teeth snapping their way into my bedroom when I sleep and haunt me for the rest of my life. Far-fetched, I know, but you know how kids are. 

So the first two teeth were given the royal treatment. I used to brush and clean them individually then rinse them in Listerine every night before placing them back into their little bed of cotton wool in a matchbox from England that my aunt gave me. I lost both of them in an unfortunate incident in which they were washed down the sink when I drained the water. The next three survived for another year before I grew bored of cleaning baby teeth every night and just left them in their bottle until they rotted. I washed them down the sink, this time of my own free will. I traded the succeeding one with my brother for dominance over the TV remote control. (He wanted to watch Ed, Edd and Eddie but I wanted to watch The Book of Pooh) I still don't know what he wanted with my tooth. 

I lost more teeth as the years went by, mostly due to similar incidents and once because I planted two teeth in the garden after the dentist told me about teeth having roots and all. I now have approximately ten more in a bottle filled with mouthwash (because I am too lazy to have to clean them every night or even every month) and they have all turned Listerine blue. They remind me of floating fetuses in jars of formaldehyde and I certainly have developed a kind of... maternal(?) feeling towards them over the years. The first two even had names: William and Harry. Dead serious. 

I don't know why I'm remembering this now but Born to Die is making me strangely nostalgic. It makes me sad to think of William and Harry and the others. It's like having a cemetery of unborn babies. 

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