As we know, I am never happy unless I can worry about something. When I was a kid, I worried all the time about Russians dropping the bomb on us. I practiced hiding under my desk for hours. Then, finally, someone gave me a copy of “Hiroshima” and I realized that two feet of fiberboard and an aluminum frame probably wasn’t going to save me from a nuclear blast. After I told my dad my concerns, he promised that the second the bomb was in the air, we would drive immediately toward the center of the blast, holding hands and singing “Hotel California” all the way. After that, weirdly, I felt better.
After my worries about the nuclear holocaust faded, I found a new scenario to obsess over: the zombie apocalypse. I had so many nightmares about zombies, I think my mom became convinced we’d grown a new personality disorder in our home. Still, she was too nice to bring it up much, except to suggest that perhaps we didn’t need to keep quite so many canned goods on hand, and also to inform me that I was not going to be getting a shotgun anytime soon.
Now, in my maturity, I have a new fear: I’m afraid my teeth are going to fall out. I have those tooth crumbling dreams that everyone seems to have from time to time, especially when they’re under stress. But probably most significantly of all, I have bruxism, which is a fancy name for grinding my teeth. Bruxism can wear down your teeth, or crack them. Eventually, it can make you lose your teeth altogether.
So it’s not totally crazy to think my teeth will one day fall out of my damn head. My dentist made a note of where I’d lost bone along the gum line, although she thought it was more due to my skipping appointments when I didn’t have health insurance years ago. Whatever the reason, it’s a source of great concern for me, as you can imagine. I can do a lot with a few extra pounds, or an unfortunate haircut. But I think even I might have trouble pulling off toothless as a look.