#700: UPSTART TOOTH

Occasionally, but rarely, a particular tooth in the back of my mouth will feel as though it has raised itself up. It is not painful, but there it is, taller than it was yesterday, taller than the tooth in front of it. I bite down crookedly, landing my chomp on it, and the meeting of my other teeth follows like a series of falling dominoes clacking together in sequence.

It feels as though it must mean something; it is telling. Of what it is telling, I have no idea, so I stick my tongue in its crevices and think about what it might imply. It is dreamlike, this tooth and its movements, with its measure of foreboding.

I have dreamt of teeth only a few times in thirty-four years. I have dreamt that they were rotten or became worms or were loose, but I never dreamt this particular scenario. Dream dictionaries tell me that to dream of teeth means poor health, embarrassment, a feeling of powerlessness, a bad business situation, that lies are being told, that your words are coming back to haunt you, that you are afraid of losing someone close to you. I am hoping that this particular prediction is not true: "Dreaming that one tooth is longer than the others portends sad news." But then, of course, I am not one to bet on the veracity of Glamour magazine's oneiromancy.

I am fascinated by Genesis P-Orridge's teeth. If you watch this video of P-Orridge from August 2006, you will see solid gold teeth glittering from behind siliconed lips. When I see those teeth, I am reminded that I have thought about complete tooth removal since I was five years old. When I lost my first tooth, I suddenly took notice of all the tooth loss in the world. It was like how when you meet someone for the first time, and they start to show up where you are all over the place. I was missing teeth, my grandparents were missing teeth, my dad had a false tooth where a hockey puck had popped out the original. Even then, I wanted all my teeth gone for good or have them stay perfect forever, because I saw a long life of working to save continually deteriorating teeth marked with numerous bouts with dentists. I wanted none of it. I was probably the only five-year-old who hoped for a full set of dentures at an early age.

Teeth are the part of my body that give it away. They give away its mechanics in away that my warm, blood-filled flesh does not. They are solid and hard, which makes them foreign, and they are problematic; it is as though they were poorly engineered for the bodies to which they are attached.

The Palinode counselled me to write about love when I asked him for inspiration earlier today, but here I am writing about teeth. Should this bother me? That I am writing about teeth, which portend nastiness all 'round, when my intent was to write about love? Today, I choose to let that lie.

I have no interest lately in pursuing deeper meaning. I find it troublesome and tiresome. It knits worry and insecurity into the simplest scenes. I am on vacation from caring.

So, my tooth is up today; tomorrow it will be down. I will have forgotten about its rise to prominence until the next time it pokes itself up, and then I will touch it with my tongue, press my teeth together to feel the awkward fit, and wonder if it is the harbinger of certain doom once again. It is almost boring, this tooth routine. It is like the salt I eat: I know that salt makes my food taste good, but I don't want to contemplate its origins and possible symbolic meaning every time I pick up the salt shaker.

Maybe I will have this tooth pulled and replace it with corundum, putting an end to this contemplation altogether. I will have it painted annually in the year's fashionable colour, and when I am dug up in a thousand years, archaeologists will create for it a ritual purpose, and I will be named a queen of my people.