Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm a Big Girl Now...That Needs to Floss More.

Well, Christmas came early for me this year, and I got a present even better than the My Life-Size Barbie that Santa brought me when I was eight: a real, official, full-time, Big Girl Job. Starting Monday, I will be an advertising account executive assistant at an advertising agency in Midland. Look Ma, no hands. 
This truly is the Best Christmas Present ever, which beats out that Life-Size Barbie (she was too quiet) and my gray and pink Furby (he was too loud…always squawking “Bay-Bay, FUR-BEEEE!” in that creepy alien voice in that creepy Furbish language until I had enough and threw him in my closet). To make it Christmas present-official, I just might put my job offer letter in a box, wrap it up with fancy wrapping paper-the kind with glittered gold stars and silver holographic swirls- and put a thick, gold bow on top, tying its loose ends much like this job is tying a lot of my life’s loose ends. Loop, swoop, and pull.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll put it in a bag with tissue paper; I am a terrible present-wrapper. However, if you took out the “w” in wrapper and just asked if I was a good rapper, though, my answer would be yes. Absolutely, yes. Especially if the rap song is by Nicki Minaj. Or Ludacris. Ask my friends.
It’s funny to think how one day, you can be unemployed, and the next, you’re employed. Just like that, a huge weight lifted, a “Get Out of Unemployment Free” card. I am excited to begin my career, but even more grateful to all those who have helped me with my job search along the way, or listened to my woes and worries about said job search (You’re free from listening to me! It’s a win for you, too!). Many of my old friends, new friends, friends of friends, family members, past co-workers, and colleagues would e-mail me about job postings or try to reach out to their connections, passing along my resume across the World Wide Web and plopping it in people’s e-mail inboxes. Like I’ve said before, one person, one phone call, one day can change everything, and in my case, I think it was a combination of all three. If you helped me in some way with my job search in any way whatsoever: Thank you, thank you, thank you… I think you deserve a couple of exclamation marks, too: Thank you!! I appreciate it more than words can be written in this blog.
Since Christmas came early for me this year, all of the holidays have shifted ahead in my mind. This means I needed to get a proper New Year’s Resolution. And today, I found it.  In the dentist’s chair.
I used to not mind going to the dentist. I have a total of zero-that’s right, zero- teeth cavities in my entire life, a feat that I am very proud of and not so modest about.  Plus I always left the dentist’s chair in a good mood for some reason. I once read a quote by Shia Labeouf, that guy from the Transformers movies, that always stuck with me, though I can’t remember the exact words at this moment...Hm. I guess it didn’t really stick with me, then. But the jist of it was “If you are ever in a bad mood, brush your teeth. It always makes you feel 100% better.”
And it’s true. It’s like a clean, non-fuzzy, minty-fresh mouth and freshly scrubbed tongue seems to perk up the spirits a bit.  Try it. Next time you’re in a bad mood, don’t bite people’s heads off, brush those chompers clean. Seriously.
Maybe that’s why my dentist is always in a chipper mood, as he was this afternoon during my six-month cleaning. He has golden skin, dark ebony hair, and of course, one of those smiles that makes you think a sparkle should come off the corner of his mouth and a “Ding!” noise should play when he shows his teeth (I wonder if that’s a job requirement for dentists, a perfect smile?) As I sat in the green plastic chair, my dentist sat down next to me, positioning his silver scraper-tool thing (technical term).  I opened my mouth wide, staring up at that poor dangling cat telling me to “Hang In There.” 
“How’s school?” he asked as he inspected my incisors. Tap, tap, tap.
“Itschfine; I gwaduate neckweed”” I grumbled the best I could. WHY do they insist on asking questions when your mouth is open?
“Good, good,” he replied, but I couldn’t tell if he was talking to me or my teeth. “Could you bite down for me?”
I bit down hard, my mind suddenly thinking of Edward Cullen and vampires.
“Great!” my dentist enthusiastically proclaimed.  He fumbled around a bit more, peering at my teeth. I felt like my mouth was a car engine and he was making sure the transmission was running smoothly.
“You have great teeth. No cavities. Lindsay,  you and your teeth are all set!” And with a swish of his white coat, he was off to the next patient. Merry Teeth to all, and to all, a good night.
But as my Greek God of a dentist left the room and flashed me a smile (literally flashed..such white teeth!) I felt guilty. I am a fake. A phony girl with bloody gums.  Had he had seen me and my “great teeth” moments before, he probably wouldn’t be so quick on the trigger to be passing out compliments.
But Nancy the Dental Hygienist knew my secret. We exchanged looks as he left, and I avoided her gaze as I picked out a blue Colgate toothbrush from the cabinet. She put the toothbrush in my dentist goodie bag, along with a free sample of Crest toothpaste and a white circle container of floss. She looked, thought for a moment, then put another container of floss in the bag.
Ouch, Nancy, I thought. I get the message.
You see, I brush my teeth regularly: It’s good hygiene, I don’t want to lose my zero cavity streak, and as I said, it puts me in a good mood. Flossing, however, is another story. I floss, I do, but… not as much as I should. This is a fact I alone know, my dirty, bad hygiened little secret, until today when Nancy the Dental Hygienist caught me red-handed…or red gum-ed, I guess.
Flossing is something you can’t get away with. If your doctor asks you “Do you drink?” you can say, “No, Doctor, I don’t touch the stuff.”  But there’s no hiding with flossing. Even if you lie, and say, “Yup, I floss all the time! Watching TV, after a meal, when I get up, when I go to bed! I’m a flossing machine!”, the blood or puffed tissue  gives you away on the spot, like wearing hunter orange in the middle of the woods. And the worst of it is, you have your mouth open, so you can’t even explain yourself  and those red, inflamed gums of yours.
This is what I was thinking when I opened my mouth wide and watched Nancy wrap the floss around her gloved forefingers, smiling at me. She knows, I thought. She knows.
In between my two front teeth Nancy worked and the floss went, back and forth, up and down. I kept my eyes on the cat poster. I’m hanging in there, I told the cat silently. I’m hanging in there.
The top teeth weren’t so bad. It was the bottom teeth where I felt the slight pain, tasted the salty blood. Here we go, as I felt slivers of my dark and dirty secret expose with each sawing motion of the floss.
 “So,” Nancy began, sitting back and putting her weapon, that thin, wiry floss, down. “Do you floss regularly? Every morning and every night?”
Come on, Nancy, I thought. You and I both know the answer to this question. Don’t make this harder than it has to be.
I took a second to decide: Do I lie and look like a fool, because I could tell from Nancy’s voice and my throbbing mouth that my gums were not exactly looking perky and pink, or do I fess up? I decided to go for an in-between, which was the actual truth:
“I do floss, but not as much as I should,” I replied honestly.
 “Yes, I can see that,” Nancy said, peering in my mouth as she picked up the floss once again. I winced, and she noticed.
“It’s okay though, your gums aren’t that bad,” she said reassuringly. Just make sure you really get down deep in there. Some people buy those flossing tools, maybe that would help.” She wrapped the floss around her fingers again, nodding at me to open my mouth.
“Ot-ahy,” I replied, leaned back with my mouth open, the floss already back at it. Well, there it was. And just like that, Nancy finished her back and forth flossing along my top and bottom rows of teeth. At the same time, a lightbulb went off in my head: This can be my New Year’s Resolution. Come 2012, I will be the best flosser in the world. Watch out, gingivitis.
And so now I walked out of the office, my yellow plastic good bag of teeth-friendly treats and a new promise to myself and my gums.  Perhaps Santa will bring me one of those flossing tools, and if so, that probably will take the Number Two spot on the list of Lindsay’s Top Christmas Presents.
But bloody gums and all, I am a lucky girl to even be able to make a list of top Christmas presents. Or to have teeth, for that matter. And a job. And most importantly, amazing friends and family.
So with a new job and a new resolution, I will turn to the next holiday, which is, hold on, let me check:
Valentine’s Day.
…Maybe I’ll wait on that one. 

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing and hilarious. I hope your job can handle you and your perfect teeth.