Damn it! I'm an adult!
Flossing and Fish Murals

Nearly everyone I know has gingivitis. I know this because they say things like "My dentist told me I have gingivitis and referred me to a periodontist. What the hell does this mean?" Someone, if not everyone in the room, will have advice to give, and why? Because they have gingivitis. Most people I know have had root canals, crowns, scaling teatments, and/or shudder gum grafts. Adults talk about these things, and compare them. Doesn't that just suck? This is not My Dinner With Andre, you know?

Adults have periodontists. I went to a children's dentist (the one I'd gone to for years) until I was 17 or so, and only left because I moved out of town, because a) I hate finding a new person, and b) the murals. There were four: Sesame Street, Star Wars, the Muppets, and something else. What do adults get? Tropical fish murals, if we're lucky. What was the cutover point? Fish are soothing, especially when they're in a large aquarium in a private home, but whenis this decided for us? After a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, is it decreed "Okay, only fish murals from now on. No more R2D2."

Adults have to sit on a chair with an excellent view of - what, Fozzie and Animal? - NO! a spectacularly revolting poster that illuminates a stage of advanced gum disease, the kind that could really only happen if you lived far from civilization and survived on taffy, or were English, or a scurvy-ridden pirate. Being an adult means having "reality" pushed in your face as much as possible, even when it's far-fetched. I think that this sucks, too.

Adults who have rather sorry times in front of a fish mural inevitably freak out and start flossing with a discipline that would be admired by Tibetan monks, Romanian gymnasts, or Stanley Kubrick. When you're an adult with a periodontist you floss with a Calvinistic fervor at least twice a day (Get thee behind me, gingivitis!), and sometimes after every meal. You learn the correct brushing and flossing technique, and realize, maybe, that you have been doing it all wrong. Don't even think about gummybears or bones or coke bottles. (though it is sort of funny to eat one and think of your dentist's reaction if they saw).

Adults also have all of these pissy, usually obligatory tasks (whether owing to vanity or necessity) that consume their day, though they should keep it at a minimum. These tasks start when they wake up. And this is a problem in itself.

When I was eight or so, I felt GREAT when I woke up. You know - awake, and not in some sort of discomfort. No problems. Just throw on some clothes, eat what your mom puts in front of you, and go play. My Big Bird alarm clock told me that it was time to get up, and to brush my teeth and wash my face. Simple.

And now? When I wake up I feel like hell. I don't even want to go into it now. But update my alarm clock and it would say "Time to wake up and brush your teeth with a serious-looking, high-tech SoniCare brush, wash your face, shower, shave, moisturize, floss, do four different types of abdominal crunches, two types of push-ups, tricep dips, and stretching, then make coffee and go to work, tool!”

But I fucking refuse to use beige Band-Aids. It's my last stand.