Category Archives: humor

The Strength of a Child

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As challenging a life as I sometimes think I have, it’s nothing compared to the torturous turmoil and ceaseless suffering endured by my six-year-old-son.

Each morning, upon rising from ten or possibly even only nine hours of sleep, he is chronically faced with the devastating psychological trauma of an iPad that was not charged the night before and therefore only possesses four percent of its battery life.  Hardly enough energy to power through a game of solitaire, never mind a round of Avengers’ Contest of Champions or even Flappy Goat.  Even more humiliating, he is usually blamed for the oversight of not plugging in the iPad and must defend his honor.  Loudly.

My son must survive throughout the week on an exponentially smaller wardrobe than the rest of the family due to a debilitating ailment that prevents him from putting away his clothes. This condition causes a category of blindness that only affects his ability to see articles of clothing on the floor, although visualization of other objects, such as legos or video game controllers, is not affected. Tragically, there’s no cure or treatment currently available.

Each day, my son must deal with the tremendous stress of being forced to ‘eat healthfully’, precisely defined in our house as three meals that don’t all include chocolate milk. The agony of being obliged to consume raw carrots is written across his furrowed brow in unspoken sorrow….unless it’s being spoken at full volume and with a slight nasally whine.   

Constant physical issues plague my son.  Nearly every day, and sometimes hourly, my son must tolerate random aches and pains that seem to materialize without rhyme or reason. Whether it’s a sudden twinge in his pinkie toe or an agonizing but somewhat vaguely described popping feeling in his ear, my son’s only recourse is to provide a detailed and regularly updated report on his latest series of discomforts, punctuated intermittently with vocal validation of his pain, such as ‘Ow! Ow!’  Thankfully, most of these problems seem to respond immediately to chocolate ice cream.

Occasionally, my son will experience violent fits, which tend to occur immediately after being asked to set the table or sort socks.  He’ll temporarily lose the ability to communicate except in loud shrieks and exclamations of negativity.  Sometimes his state will devolve even further to include writhing and flailing on the floor. This corporeal trauma only seems to abate after desperate pleas and negotiations concerning television privileges.  By that time, my son is so physically exhausted, he must drag himself up the stairs while moaning and complaining noisily, poor fellow.

My son is cursed with a vivid imagination and curious nature. He is compelled to inquire about a host of random and trivial subjects which may or may not include a discussion on the potential martial arts skills of adolescent reptiles, a post-mortem on all the flavors of soda he has ever tasted, or a demand for the number of minutes he has been alive.   Ironically, requests for information about HIM are typically answered with ‘I don’t want to tell you.’

My son’s remarkable resilience despite the brutal torments he must tolerate day in and day out is truly inspiring to me and everyone else in the household. Despite all his hardships, he typically ends each grueling day with a brave smile. As long as that day ends with chocolate ice cream….For medicinal purposes, of course.

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Movie Critic

Me: Want to see a movie?

6YO: Maybe. What did it get on Rotten Tomatoes?

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Magic Smells

6YO: Hey Mommy, if you say ‘smelly armpits’ really fast, it sounds like a Harry Potter magic spell.

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E=MC Times Squared?

6yo: I’m Albert Einstein!! I’m the guy who invented Times Square!!

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Restless Room

bathroom-691341_960_720Although I am not particularly squeamish about using public restrooms that may be described with a list of adjectives that does not necessarily include ‘sterile’, ‘spotless’ or even ‘clean’, I have recently developed a strong aversion to entering a specific bathroom that is right down the hall from where I live. In my own house. And belonging to my own children.

This space, which USED to resemble a bathroom, but now has taken on a certain post-apocalyptic war-ravaged feel, is the only room in the house that appears impervious to the bi-weekly cleanings I pay someone else to do. Like a haunted attic that just won’t stay cobweb-free no matter how many times you dust, my boys’ restroom seems to revert back to its previously characteristic state of horror seemingly within moments of my cleaning lady’s exit through the front door.

“What is that smell?” I will wonder aloud, my nose wrinkling, as I pass through the hallway outside the kids’ toilet, and contemplate whether someone has been careless enough to let an alley cat into our home. Perhaps my sons have somehow regressed to the point at which they feel the need to mark their territory, although the cheery pirate bathroom motif should really suffice. 

I’ve tried ignoring the existence of the bathroom and hoping any visiting guests will do the same, but that’s about as difficult as concealing a crack den in an otherwise tidy two-story suburban residence – you’re just bound to notice one room is a bit…off. 

So, on occasion, my husband and I will force ourselves through the threshold and survey the damage. Aside from the distinct aroma, we will marvel at the amount of toothpaste that appears to be growing up from the tile on the sink, like an insidious blue-green sparkly mold that has broken out of a science lab petri dish and intends on devouring our home, surface by surface.  

Until we look closely, we’ll assume that something has exploded within the basin itself, as tiny white ricochet marks seem to cover the entire expanse of the ceramic. Upon further inspection, we’ll realize it’s a Jackson Pollack pattern of toothpaste, saliva and tiny bits of whatever else happened to be swirled around in someone’s mouth and then shot out in a detonating eruption. 

My husband and I stand aghast for about as long as we can muster up the strength (which isn’t very long), before loudly demanding the presence of our sons.  

“What is this mess?!” I will bellow.

“What mess? By the way, I got an eight out of ten on my English test,” the older one will rapidly fire out, as he takes on the persona of a diminutive Jedi Master attempting to supernaturally compel our attention from the state of the bathroom to something else entirely.

“I think the toilet is dripping.” My younger son’s approach is to place the blame on anyone else, especially inanimate objects that cannot argue in their own defense. 

“Oh, there’s some dripping going on, but not from the toilet…” I remark, while pointing my finger and furrowing my brow in a way that suggests less television and dessert if matters are not attended to immediately. 

Painfully, I coerce my children into cleaning the bathroom. Unfortunately, my sons are about as effective at it as I happen to be, which is why I hire someone else to do it in the first place. Sigh. Perhaps she has a free day this week.

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Parenthoodwinked

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One of the most challenging aspects of parenthood is convincing your child that you have some idea of what you are doing…because you usually don’t.

“I don’t need a jacket today,” my six-year-old will report to me on mornings that I look out the window and observe ice falling from the sky.

“You need a jacket,” I will insist, “It’s freezing, and you are only wearing a t-shirt that appears to be two sizes too small.”

“But, I’m not cold,” he will reason, as if logic is something he uses on a regular basis.

“Put on your jacket,” I will counter.

“But, MOMMY WHHHHHHYYYYYYY?” His voice will go up several octaves and level out in a long whine like a dying balloon looking for a safe place to land on the floor.

“Because,” I will pause and then utter those words that all parents swear never to use: “I SAID SO.”

Providing such rationale is typically a dead giveaway to any child worth his salt that you have exhausted all your ‘real’ answers and have gotten desperate. My older son, aged ten going on 40, is especially salty.

“I really think you should join a soccer league,” I will say on occasion, varying the suggested sport with each season.

“Not interested,” he will murmur from the couch, the glowing reflection of Minecraft dancing in his eyeballs.

“You’ll make some new friends,” I will point out, “And, you could really use the exercise..”

I’ll go over a prepared list of data points and supporting research to validate my position, like a freshman on the first day of debate club, usually getting monosyllabic counter-arguments or grunts in reply.

Finally, I’ll give up. “How do you know you don’t like something if you don’t try it??” I’ll wail, exasperated.

Here, he’ll glance up briefly and inform me, “I’ve never tried having my brain eaten by zombies, but I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t like it.”

Obviously, my children are getting older, and they are becoming more aware of the fact that at any given time, as a parent, I am winging it. “Because,” is increasingly less convincing as an answer for questions like, “Why can’t I have a bowl of jelly beans for dinner?” or “How come I have to wear pants to Grandma’s party?” Really, I just don’t know.

Recently, I overheard my older son instructing his brother on the finer points of a video game they were playing.

“Why do I need to defeat ALL the bad guys on this level?” the six-year-old questioned.

“Because….,” his brother paused, “I said so.”

At least I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

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It Feels….Great

Me: (after a somewhat awkward discussion about genital health) So, if you have any more questions, you should probably talk to your dad. Because, he has a penis and he knows what it feels like to have one–

6YO:(interrupting) Oh, it feels good.

Me: …..Great to hear.

6YO: How does it feel to have…what you have….?

Me: Vagina. Great. It feels great. Good talk.

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Mothers are Forever

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Charlotte and Oliver’s romance was rocky from the start.

“Where did you meet this guy again?” Charlotte’s sister Rhonda asked over fajitas and margaritas. “Wasn’t it horseback riding or something weird like that?”

“Rock climbing,” Charlotte answered abruptly.  “I joined a Facebook club. It wasn’t weird. My friend Lydia and I did it together.”

Rhonda smirked. “Well, Lydia’s pretty weird, but I won’t say anything else negative if that’s what you’d prefer.” She sawed off a piece of tortilla with her fork, doused it in a glob of salsa on the edge of her plate and shoved it into her mouth.

“Yes, that’s what I’d prefer,” sighed Charlotte. She was 40, and although she felt she looked good, she was getting tired of hearing ‘for your age tacked onto the end of every compliment she received lately.  She was also sick of conversations with other women who felt the need to interject ‘good for you!’ as a way to express their ‘support’ for her life choices. ‘Never married at 40? Good for you!’ ‘No kids to worry about, eh? Good for you!’ they would smile, as they clutched their own babies slightly tighter on their hips and sashayed down the frozen food aisle to pick up some family –sized bags of tater tots.

The truth was that Charlotte desperately wanted to buy the family-sized bags of tater tots, rather than the individual portions of Lean Cuisine that filled her supermarket cart week after week.  A successful CFO at an up-and-coming architectural firm, she’d put certain things on the back burner as she focused on her career.  She bought a house at 35, by herself, and filled it with art and Faberge eggs – not real ones, but very high-quality facsimiles. She was certain a marriage and family would follow eventually, but woke up one morning on her 39th birthday in a panic.  She downloaded a book titled ‘Find Mr. Right, Right Now!’, which was recommended by four out of the five urban sophisticate bloggers she followed and read about how best to catch up on achieving the domestic bliss she suddenly sensed was overdue.

Quickly, and with the fastidious type-A personality that had allowed her as a child to out-sell every other roadside lemonade stand within three miles of her house through an ingenious marketing campaign involving a rented pony named Mellow Yellow, Charlotte began restructuring her life in order to best acquire a husband. She replaced her yoga classes with kickboxing. She joined several dating web sites connecting local white-collar singles based on a unique algorithm combining astrological data and Goodreads recommendations . She studied micro-brewery and watched Martin Scorsese films. She replaced her signature raspberry champagne cocktail with a vodka tonic and grew out her hair from a sensible bob to a long and layered mane of come hither curls.

Charlotte gave herself 12 months to meet someone suitable and it was almost to the day of that self-imposed deadline that she met Oliver.   The Facebook group through which they connected called itself ‘Adventures in Romance’ and boasted a 45% successful marriage rate amongst the ten or so couples who had met online in the group and eventually gone on to exclusively date one another. Charlotte was dragged along on a rock-climbing expedition by her friend Lydia, who promptly tripped over a loose harness on the ground and twisted her ankle before even getting to the cliff.

It was this fortuitous accident that allowed Charlotte to find herself strapped to a tall, dark-haired replacement climbing partner with piercing blue eyes who introduced himself as Oliver.   He seemed as charming in person as he was satisfactory on paper, which she had already ascertained when she Googled every member of the group weeks earlier. Her online investigative skills had led to the following knowledge: she knew he was a cardiologist with a healthy Instagram following.  She also knew how much his old house had sold for three years ago. She had not known he collected ukuleles, volunteered at a food bank and wrote poetry, but discovered it over the course of the three hour cliff climbing expedition. She also didn’t know he was engaged twice, and had his heart broken each time, a solemn confession Oliver delivered in hushed tones while holding her hands delicately in his own, over fried calamari and martinis on their third date.

“So, what’s wrong with him?” Rhonda swiped her finger around the inside of her margarita glass and licked off the salt.

“There’s nothing wrong with him….” Charlotte paused. “Except. I think he lives with his mother.”

Rhonda shrugged. “I dated a musician last year who lived with his mother.”

Charlotte grimaced. “That musician was 19!”

“Oh, right…” Rhonda grinned. “Well, have you met the old battle axe, yet?”

“Tomorrow for brunch.” Charlotte sighed. “They are coming over for crepes.”

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you,” Rhonda said, holding and twisting them together as she spoke. She noticed a grain of salt on her index finger and licked it off.

****

“I thought we were having pancakes.” Eunice stared at her plate, which Charlotte had delicately garnished with three layers of home-made crepes and an assortment of fillings.

“They are crepes,” Charlotte said brightly, “Kind of like pancakes, but more upscale.” She smiled and looked at Oliver, who nodded his approval at her little joke.

Eunice looked at Charlotte blankly for a minute, and then turned her eyes back to the plate. “Ollie, where’s the Mrs. Butterworth?”

Ollie? Charlotte winced at the nickname, but Oliver looked pleadingly as if to say ‘just indulge her, please…’

Charlotte pulled the syrup out of the fridge and handed it over, sitting back down to study Eunice. With a figure Charlotte would refer to as ‘squat’, she had a typical post-menopause look; choppy short haircut with obvious streaky highlights. She wore too much powder on her face which had fallen into a layer of dust around her turtleneck collar. Her thin lips were a gash of garish red lipstick, and with every sip of her coffee, she left another ring of it on Charlotte’s stone white china. She seemed as coarse and unrefined as Oliver seemed stylish and graceful, and Charlotte briefly thought to ask whether he’d been adopted.

The one bright spot hidden away amongst Eunice’s overall tackiness was an elegant diamond ring she wore on her stubby left hand. It was in a simple setting of platinum filigree and stood out from the rest of Eunice like a white rose in a field of crabgrass. Charlotte’s eyes were immediately drawn to the size of the stone and even from across the table, she could see its quality.  The thing had to be at least 2 karats.

“Never married?” Eunice jolted Charlotte out of her reflections. “What’s that?” Charlotte asked.

“I said – have you ever been married?,” Eunice’s nasal tone was amplified as she wrapped a yellowed handkerchief around her nose and milked it a few times.

“Not yet!” Charlotte grinned and shot another look in Oliver’s direction. He smiled and winked in response.

Eunice noticed the exchange and wrinkled her face in disapproval. She checked her watch. “Ollie, don’t forget you’re driving me to the podiatrist this afternoon.” She looked at Charlotte. “I’m getting my calluses shaved,” she added unnecessarily.

Charlotte reluctantly swallowed a piece of crepe she had just placed in her mouth and pushed her plate away. “Well, don’t let me keep you two,” she smiled coldly.

Oliver gathered his mother’s things and gave Charlotte a quick peck on the cheek as they exited. “The crepes were delicious,” he almost whispered as he followed his mother out the door.

“40 year old women who have never been married are desperate,” she heard Eunice’s nasal-y voice trail off as she shoved herself into the car.

Charlotte watched them drive off and reconsidered Oliver’s suitability. She would give him three months, she decided, before going back to square one.

****

Over the course of the next several weeks, Eunice proved herself to be a major obstacle in Charlotte’s short-term trajectory towards matrimony. Mostly because she was always there. Oliver seemed incapable of refusing her constant suggestions that she invite herself along on any number of hopeful romantic occasions, quickly turning them into errand runs, as Eunice had a habit of suddenly remembering she needed more Epsom salts or hemorrhoid cream.  It was always a product that created an awkward air of embarrassing silence amongst the three of them, which certainly seemed by Eunice’s design, as she sat smugly in the front seat of the car.

The few times they were able to be alone, Eunice would call or text at a rate that was well past intrusive.

“Just call her back,” Charlotte pleaded, as her gazpacho soup actually warmed while she waited for Oliver to finish directing his mother through the simple process of setting up an online Zoc Doc appointment.

“Just one more minute,” Oliver promised, “She’s got a rash.”

Despite the meddling, Charlotte found herself increasingly drawn to Oliver’s quiet, almost passive behaviors. As she projected into their future lives, she saw herself easily taking the reins and guiding him into the marriage and family she coveted. Oliver seemed quite willing to acquiesce to any decision she decreed; he was born to play a supporting role and Charlotte was eager to star in his show. There was only one problem. Someone else was already the star.

****

“God, I really wish she would just disappear!” Charlotte violently stabbed her fork into a piece of grilled chicken in her Caesar salad over lunch with Rhonda.

“I know a guy,” Rhonda winked. She slowly sawed through her eggplant parmesan with her butter knife for effect.

“Ugh, I wish it were that easy,” Charlotte smiled.

“If he’s such a momma’s boy, why are you hanging around?” Rhonda spoke through a mouthful of eggplant.

Charlotte sighed. “I don’t know….” She trailed off. “I hate losing,” she gritted her teeth.

“You might lose this one, kiddo,” Rhonda intoned sagely, “You know, a boy’s best friend is his mother….” She did her best Norman Bates voice.

Charlotte groaned and ordered a glass of Chardonnay.

*****

A week later, Charlotte had what she would later describe to her sister as a show-down with Eunice. She had arrived several minutes early to pick up Oliver for an art gallery opening and found herself sitting on the couch picking individual black cat hairs off her velvet pant suit. Eunice’s cat’s hairs. Charlotte made a mental note never to own a pet.

“I know what you’re thinking about,” Eunice’s nasal-ey voice drifted through the front room as she descended the stairs in a housecoat with the cat in her arms. She looked like a frumpier version of a James Bond villain.

Charlotte rose from her seat and smiled. “You couldn’t possibly,” she said warmly.

“You think you can replace me,” Eunice accused darkly, glaring down from her vantage point two steps above the floor.

“Eunice, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You’ll never have my Ollie,” Eunice said defiantly, “Or this, either.”  She gesticulated wildly into the air with the hand that wore the diamond ring.

“Eunice, please….”

“As God is my witness,” Eunice trumpeted dramatically, “I won’t let you replace me!”

******

One week later, there was an answer from above.

Initially, Oliver seemed inconsolable over the death of his mother, which apparently happened during an overly strenuous Jane Fonda work-out session. The doctor explained that one of her leg-warmers got caught on a nearby lamp during a scissor-kick, flipping her head over and onto the smooth marble floor.  “She probably never felt a thing,” the doctor assured Oliver, “besides the impression that she looked great in her leotard.”

Charlotte remained by Oliver’s side throughout the funeral and bided her time during an appropriate grieving period.  She felt the months she had invested may have finally paid off when Oliver asked her to join him for dinner at very expensive and exclusive restaurant for what he deemed ‘a special occasion.’

It was between the soup course and the mini egg roll appetizers when Oliver pulled a small box from his pocket and placed it on the table. Charlotte’s heart leapt and she pictured Eunice’s ring on her own slender finger. Getting my cake and eating it too, she smirked to herself.

“Charlotte, you should know, my mother was everything to me,” Oliver began, and Charlotte looked down quickly to conceal her eye-roll.  “…Until you came into my life,” Oliver finished.  “I was hoping to keep both of you in it, but when my moth-“ he stopped himself for a moment, choking back a sob.

Charlotte patted his hand and urged him to go on with a carefully constructed facial expression of concern and support.

“Well,” Oliver continued, “I think I have found a way to hold onto both of you.”

He pushed the box toward Charlotte, who tried not to rip it apart with her impatience.

Inside was a diamond ring, but not THE diamond ring.  In fact, for a moment, in the dim light of the restaurant, the shape of the gem looked off. She couldn’t quite make out the cut. Was it an emerald cut? Or a pear-shaped? As she squinted harder, the diamond almost looked…..squat.

“What is this?” Charlotte’s voice lowered a full octave. “This is not your mother’s diamond ring.”

Oliver waved away her question. “Of course not. My mother was cremated in her ring, per her will.”

“This gem is much more special….”  Oliver took a deep breath.   “Charlotte.  I wanted the spirit of my mother in something we could hold and admire for our entire lives. Something I could put on your hand and marry you with, so that a part of my mother would always be there on your finger.  Every single second of every single day, with you….with US, forever.”

“Charlotte,” Oliver smiled, “This diamond isn’t my mother’s…..this diamond IS my mother!”

******

“The thing about Lean Cuisine,” Charlotte said to her sister Rhonda on the phone as she walked briskly through the frozen food aisle, and pulled several individually-sized portions off the shelf and into her cart, “Is that it tastes best while watching a marathon session of John Hughes movies while wearing sweatpants,  comfortable slippers and a Snuggie and followed by a large tub of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate brownie ice cream….by myself.”

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Mind The Gap

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As a child, I felt extremely fortunate to be spared the pain and indignity of braces. The indignity was perceived; growing up decades before the introduction of more discreet orthodontia inventions like Invisalign or lingual braces, my only associations were the railroad tracks cemented across the teeth of the poor souls I watched in the lunch room, forced to cut their apples and carrots into miniature pieces and denied such life-affirming foods as popcorn and pizza crust, for the love of God. I heard horror stories of night braces and orthodontia headgear, specifically designed to drastically lower one’s chances of being recognized as a human person, rather than as a cyborg with hormonal acne. I watched friends slowly drag out their retainers before meals, creating strings of thickly webbed saliva that grew and thinned until they snapped and remained hanging from the device, swaying in the breeze precariously until wiped away.

There was no uncertainty about the pain of braces however, which was made exceedingly evident to me through the tribulations of my younger sister.  Deemed orthodontia-ready by the age of 15, she was forced to endure years of what resembled tiny barbed wire fencing around the expanse of each tooth, and I wondered if it was painful to close her tiny lips over them, for fear of ripping right through the flesh. On several occasions, I had the misfortune of accompanying her to the orthodontist’s office to have her braces tightened, a fairly barbaric process which seemed to me not unlike the medieval method of thumbscrews, but on one’s gums. While I gratefully stayed behind in the waiting room, she disappeared behind the door of what was surely a dungeon torture chamber, which I ascertained from the sounds of metal scraping, gear grinding and anguished human screams that emanated from within.  My sister, who typically practiced respect and deference to adults, could be heard issuing forth a steady stream of obscenities, threats and general terror toward her doctor which included promises of making future appointments with him in hell.  At the end of the visit, I couldn’t tell who was more upset, my sister or the orthodontist.

Although it was gratifying to evade this brief phase of oral shackling, which surely would have compounded all the other anguish and agony of my adolescence; I was disappointed to discover a by-product of growing in my teeth naturally. A fairly sizable gap between my two top incisors. As a child, the only bother it bore me was an interesting sucking noise that occurred while I drank from a cup, but as I grew older and began placing more importance on my physical appearance, I couldn’t help comparing my mirrored image to a beaver or the Easter Bunny. I would stare at my visage while chewing on a piece of Chiclet’s gum, eventually forcing it with my tongue in between the empty space in my teeth to create the illusion of the missing enamel and think about what might have been.

Ever conscious of my gap, I tried to remember to always keep my lips closed while having my picture taken. Still, there are several pieces of photographic evidence from various school yearbooks that document an unintentional toothy smile; my front teeth dipping below my lips like the tiniest of sawed-off vampire fangs. Not the Twilight kind, but the Nosferatu kind.

As a bespectacled teenager working alongside several (slightly) older men at a bookstore in the local mall, I was introduced to the fairly absurd concept of my gap being a badge of sexual prowess. “Gaps are sexy,” I was told. But, the revelation was delivered more in the way of “I’m telling you that because you are somewhat nerdy and I hope it brings you genuine comfort”, rather than “And, now I will ask for your phone number.”

Still the idea of my diastema – the technical word for a space between two teeth – being a help rather than a hindrance to my overall appearance grew on me.  After all, Chaucer wrote of ‘the gap-toothed wife of Bath’ because of the connection of the physical characteristic with lustful tendencies, a popular premise at the time. Several African cultures associate gapped-tooth women with increased fertility and cosmetic procedures to create a gap are common. And, in France, they are called ‘dents du bonheur’ or ‘lucky teeth’. Perhaps it was finally time to ‘embrace my space.’

As an adult, I have more or less come to terms with my gap, though my thoughts on its allure vary depending on which gap-toothed celebrity I am told my mouth resembles. Madonna and Lauren Hutton, I’m fine with, but I was a bit more distraught at a recent comparison to Lawrence Fishburne.

Ironically, gapped teeth are currently having a moment and I can’t turn several pages of any fashion magazine without coming face-to-face with an advertisement featuring a close-up of a gap-toothed model; eyelids heavy and lips slightly parted so as not to miss the dark section of nothingness between her two front teeth. Regardless of the product being promoted – from eyeliner to dog food to lawn mowers – such a facial expression is necessary to bring prominent exposure to the gap – a clause no doubt written into her contract.

I am still routinely wooed by dentists who promise to ‘fix’ me.

“You know it’s going to keep growing, don’t you?” one dentist intoned ominously at a recent appointment, “The space, I mean.”

“Really?” I wondered how big it could actually get before becoming a small window into the inner workings of my mastication process for the entire world to see.

“Don’t you change a thing, sweetie!” his dental hygienist clucked, “That space gives you character.”

Being told my gap gives me ‘character’, which is often used as a synonym for ‘unattractive’, routinely makes me question my life-long commitment to accepting it as my fate.  Still, as I grow older and watch various parts of my face and body change and evolve, what remains the same (albeit imperceptibly larger, apparently) is that space between my teeth.  No doubt it will provide me with an amusing level of eccentric charm for years to come….Not to mention a superior level of spitting abilities.

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Flowers for Reuben

Five year old: I am the smartest kid in my class.

Me: Really? How do you know?

Five year old: Because no one ever understands what I’m talking about.

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