18 March, 2012
It was time to get my veneers on my teeth replaced. A crazy orthodontist when I was a kid pulled 4 eye teeth out of my mouth at 13 when my jaw was not even developed and I was slow to mature anyway, essentially screwing up my bite forever. He actually over-dosed me on anesthesia, resulting in me tripping for a day and a half and yelling at my mom to leave me alone. Wrongly attributed to an allergy, and then to adolescent rebellion, my mom didn't know I was gay, the source of much anger. A loner only because society made it clear they hated me, I felt. I can still bring up the memory of me being escorted out of the office higher than a kite. I had braces twice, and I cursed him out later as an adult calling just to say, “You made money off my suffering.” Not exactly a bright thing to do, but that me twenty-five years ago. I kept them and had a hippie woman make Macramé a necklace of them in high school, never quite understanding until now that it was yet another symbol of my pain. I have veneers solely to beef up the teeth to make up for the ones pulled. They broke during the seizures I had with my near death in 1994, cutting into my tongue, and lower lip. Thankfully, I was so mentally gone I was in no pain, then. Yet another reason to enjoy the fruits of my brain injury, which has never come up in Vipassana ...as something I need to deal with. I have really effectively moved this into gratitude for who I am now.
Anyway, in the dental office today as the temporaries broke for the second time, meaning I won’t be able to eat food, only liquid until the real deal is put back in. I was thinking more about the money this would cost me, is enough to support a family of five in Myanmar, recalling the family I helped there. Looking at the ceiling light above me in the room, I thought about how foolish it is, to fix teeth on a man past his prime. Who I am trying to impress? Certainly, I don’t want my partner, family and friends to disregard any wisdom I can share, based on the fact that I have let myself go. I am still a member of their society, and as such… I have be play by their rules. It is for my health first and my ego second, but I would like wisdom above all.
“Now I'm just letting you know about these things... the suffering that arises from within, that arises within our own bodies. There's nothing within the body you can depend on. It's not too bad when you're still young, but as you get older things begin to break down. Everything begins to fall apart. Conditions go their natural way. Whether we laugh or cry over them they just go on their way. It makes no difference how we live or die, makes no difference to them. And there's no knowledge or science, which can prevent this natural course of things. You may get a dentist to look at your teeth, but even if he can fix them they still eventually go their natural way. Eventually even the dentist has the same trouble. Everything falls apart in the end.” — Ajahn Chah