Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Sparkly Blue Retainer...A Parable

I'm probably misusing the term "parable" but I kind of don't care.


When I was a kid, I had braces.  My teeth were a hot mess, so on they went when I was about ten or so.  I had a love/hate relationship with them, and a year and a half later, I got them off.

With my new freedom came...the retainer.  So I guess "freedom" isn't the word for it.  I mean, I could eat peanuts and chew gum again to my little heart's content, and instead of this:

Let's be one looks this good with metalmouth.

I looked like this:
Her, either.

But to hell with it, at least they weren't braces!  

I was told I had to wear the stupid thing all the time at first, 24/7, so I figured I'd like to at least like my new torture device. So when they came in to take the mold for it and they asked if I wanted glitter, of course I said yes!  What twelve-year-old girl wouldn't?  But I did come away disappointed--they didn't offer any colors.  See, I really wanted a blue one.  Even better would have been a sparkly blue one.  Blue, with blue glitter.  A friend of mine--just one friend, this was the mid-1990s when braces were becoming more mainstream--had a blue one, and I jealousy, especially since I had to settle.  

Truthfully, as much as I wanted one, I probably wouldn't have gotten the blue one...I'd been picked on enough in school, and decided that since people would be seeing it (I had to take it out to eat), I should stick to something fairly neutral.  No sense in giving the bullies more theoretical ammo.  Pre-teen kids are assholes, by the way, and that was way more than enough to persuade me to suck it up and settle for something I was only "meh" about, not that I had much of a choice given what was available.

So I got my mouth-pink glittery retainer.  I wore that damn thing religiously, even though I hated it and it made me feel like I was going to puke all the time.  I never even lost it; never even accidentally--or maybe that should be "accidentally"?--threw it out on my lunch tray at school.  Then I was finally given the green light to just wear it at night, and I looked forward to the day when I could wean myself off it for good and be "normal."

That day never came.  

I tried, but my teeth and jaw would ache like a sonovabitch if I didn't wear it for more than one night, and it was actually a relief to put it back in.  I also observed my peers not wearing theirs, and their teeth would migrate like retarded homing pigeons back to where they'd been before they had braces--and in some cases, they were actually worse-off.  And there was no WAY I was going to let that happen.  I'd suffered for beauty (and happy teeth, but mostly beauty), goddammit, and I wasn't going to have wonky teeth just because. 

Fast-forward years later (to 2011, actually), and I was still wearing the same pinky glittery thing.  I'd taken great care of it; it was clean and crack-free, but loose after something like sixteen years.  I'd always been complimented on my "bite" by my dentists and my teeth were good, but a visit to a recommended orthodontist confirmed it was time for a new one.

Molds were taken, and then the moment came--the one I'd been waiting for.

The color selection.  

And you know what?  I picked out a blue, sparkly retainer.  I was a grown women, dammit, and I wasn't going to let anything stand in the way of what I wanted.  I was going do and get what made me happy.  

So now I have one of these:

Not a picture of my actual retainer.  I wanted to respect its privacy.

So the moral of this whole convoluted story is that you should do what makes you happy, no matter what anyone thinks (unless it's hurting yourself or someone else).  

And I think we need to remember that more often.  

xoxo Sarah

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Since I thoroughly embarrassed my mother for Mother's Day, I figured what the heck and decided to do the same for my dad.

Where should I start?

I should begin by saying that I'm an only child, but my dad--a manly half-Italian guy with a 70's pornstache--never seemed to mind being outnumbered by women.  Nothing was deemed too manly or girly; he'd play games with me, and he taught me to drive a stick-shift.  I have some mad Cribbage skillz (yes, skills with a "z" because I'm badass like that) because of him.

This is James Franco. My dad doesn't look like James Franco, but the mustache is similar.
My dad's 'stache is more spectacular, however.
We share the same nose (all the better to smell you with, my dear), and even a weird little gap between two side teeth that appears to be genetic--in pictures of his mother, I've seen that she had it, too.  I'll even go so far to blame him for the fact that, on occasion, I seem to sport more facial hair than my husband.  Dad and I also share a similar sense of humor, a love of terrible puns, a baffling enjoyment of car shopping, and Indiana Jones.

That actually reminds me of a little story.  When I was a kid, sick and home from school, my dad would often come home for lunch to see how I was doing.  Sometimes he'd bring me a flower to cheer me up, but he always came by with a smile and made my day brighter.  One one such occasion, probably when I was around ten--I can't remember--he put on a video for me.  It was an off-TV recording of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and we sat there watching it until he had to leave.  I was hooked, and it's been one of my favorite movies ever since.

My dad's also been one of my biggest inspirations.  When he was younger, he worked hard to put himself through school, coming away with a degree in accounting.  Why anyone would love numbers that much, I have no idea, but that's neither here nor there.  After a fashion, he realized that wasn't for him--he hated the idea of being cooped up in an office, and since then, worked in outdoorsy positions.  To make a decision like that--to take the leap and not spend a lifetime stuck doing something you don't like--takes a lot of guts, and he's always encouraged me to do something that made me happy.  Even though he's not a big reader--he loves stories, but prefers a visual medium--he's been one of my biggest cheerleaders and has promised to read everything I write.  

I'll close with another picture of a spectacular mustache, just because.

Tom Selleck, and Tom Selleck's mustache, which must get paid more than he does by this point.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!  

xoxo Sarah