Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The Eyes Have It

Adam distrusts dentists. So this morning, when ours asked him to open wide, he flipped the guy to the ground and demanded to know why he had gone into the business of pain. The terrified hygienist tried to intervene, but Adam held her at bay with the dentist's scraper and warned her that she was just as complicit.

By chance, today we also were supposed to pick up Adam's new glasses. And this pleased us enormously, because going to the eye doc's for new specs appeals to one's vanity, or at least one's desire for self-reinvention. Going to the dentist, on the other hand, offers nothing more than a free toothbrush to accompany the admonitions.

A visit to the eye doctor is an exercise in self-indulgence. A visit to the dentist is an exercise in shame.

Why? It's all about our mortality and how it signifies. Glasses—especially for those of us who have had them for almost as long as we've had eyes—can represent dignity, erudition. Your eyes are wearing out because you're so industrious, don't you know.

But let your teeth or gums change just a little bit and that's a moral failing. You slovenly thing. The proof that you're aging—nay, that you're dying—is right there between your lips.

In the movie world, one can whip off one's glasses and become exquisite. The love object's heart swells, along with the background music. Beauty and youth have shed their disguise!

But try whipping out your retainer and see what kind of reaction that gets you. Precious few of us find airborne drool endearing. Get thee to the bleaching strips before we take those teeth away from you.


Post a Comment

<< Home