Mount Shasta, in the kitchen, March 2003: “Why do good things happen to bad people?” Adrienne wails. She’s trying to get my goat, as my grandfather used to say.
She’s had trouble with her teeth all her life, whereas I have been blessed in that regard.
I have perfect teeth.
I know that I have perfect teeth because of what my dentist, Dr. Martin of Henrietta, Texas, told me, as I sat in his chair in 1960. “Open,” he said. He peered around.
“You have perfect teeth,” he said.
At that moment, and even now, I can think of no area in my life that seems perfect to me. Moments? Yes, moments were perfect. Moments of love, moments of passion, a moment when viewing trees on sweeping English hillsides that might have been Africa, a moment so late at night that the birds began announcing the dawn, a moment of clarity, a moment of dreadful realization. Yes, perfect moments, but no area of life that seemed entirely perfect … except now, as I realize that I have perfect teeth.
As best I know, I have never had a cavity. Oh, once in San Francisco, I went to a new dentist, who took xrays and then announced two cavities. Then he filled them and charged me money. I’d never had a cavity before, and I’ve never in 30 years since had another cavity. I believe that I had no cavity then, either. I think he either blundered the xrays and repaired someone else’s cavities in my mouth, or he just needed some money or practice, and I was the goat.
So now, in a vain attempt to get my goat, Adrienne is wailing, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” Ha! She’s annoyed because I have perfect teeth, and she does not.
While I am sorry that she does not have perfect teeth, I am glad for this one part of my life that has been perfect for almost 60 years. (I will celebrate my 60th birthday next month, so if you will be sending presents, please contact me for current shipping information, haw!)
And now, because you have been patient with my intermittent story-telling and lazy ways, you shall be rewarded with the inside scoop, that is, my secret method.
First, I must tell you that my mother, bless her heart, taught me how to brush my teeth and taught me that they should be brushed both in the morning and at night. Television ads at that time even touted brushing after every meal, but in my lifetime, only Dennis seems to do that.
My contribution to my mother’s method was to forget about brushing my teeth nearly all the time, and for all my adult life I still constantly forget to brush. Is my breath sometimes awful? Well, yes; so I am told. Adrienne calls me “camel breath” sometimes. I take it as a hint. I think this means I should brush and so it serves as a reminder. She is forever helping me in this way.
But, all in all, based upon the evidence I must conclude that the first key to having perfect teeth would appear to be avoiding brushing them. At least, that’s what seems to have worked for me.
Next, let us consider milk.
When I was a child, I grew up disliking only one food: milk. I begged coffee-milk by the time I was six, because it made the milk taste better. I complained about milk throughout my childhood. When I was thirteen, my mother finally told me I didn’t have to drink milk any more. No more big glass in the morning, hoo ray!
Ten years later, sitting in the restaurant at the Cabana Hotel in Dallas, I thought: Maybe I’ve been missing something, hmmm, so I ordered a glass of milk. It was evening, and dark outside the windows. The waitress, dressed much like a Playboy bunny, brought my milk. I contemplated it, and then drank it down.
And confirmed that I didn’t like milk.
So there you have it. Apparently, from everything that I can see, the key to perfect teeth is to avoid drinking milk, avoid brushing and flossing, and just leave your teeth the hell alone.