If I were more ambitious, I would make a pie chart to illustrate an indisputably true fact. It is this: I have big teeth. The pie chart would be titled surface area and would indicate the proportion of my person dedicated to, say, thighs (a lot), ass (also a lot), and hair & teeth (staggering amounts!). I have big teeth. Big ones. I have heard myself described by others as “that girl with the teeth.”

I am telling you this because I got up at 6:35 this morning to go to church and do what could only be described as four hours of unpaid work. It was tedious. It was a total waste of my time occasionally marked by moments of condescension and the inconveniences caused by other people’s poor planning. If I applied myself, I could become pretty damn annoyed.

And not just by that: there’s politics and tv evangelists and people who are unkind to kind people. There’re people who send faxes to phone lines and people who never ever recycle. Those are just a few of the several things that also annoy the holy hell out of me.

Instead of thinking too hard about any of that I’m going to reflect on my more than passing resemblance to one Eleanore Roosevelt. When I was a kid, I had craaaazy teeth instead of merely large ones. They were bucky and jammed into my mouth at wild angles. Ten years of orthodontics later, they are quite nicely arranged. I’ve always been very, very happy my parents were able to hook me up with braces. I can’t begin to tell you how unfortunate looking I would’ve been if my teeth were left the way they were.

The crookedness came from my dad’s family. My mom’s family generally has even worse teeth. Despite excellent care and even better nutrition, the whole lot of them have soft teeth prone to decay. My grandmother wore dentures before she was thirty. My grandfather had two gold teeth right in front. I haven’t had a cavity since I was seven. I have never worked a job where I had dental insurance, and I’ve never had enough money to pay easily for the dozen or so fillings a year that people on my mom’s side seem to require. I can imagine, though, how terrible it would be to struggle under their big dental bills with my bad jobs.

I’m trying these days to counter my exasperation with gratitude for the many good things there are in the world and in my very own life. And, so, I’m going around today thinking about how happy I am to be That Girl with the Teeth. I am.

Plus, there are worse people to look like than one of the most powerful and respected women of the early twentieth century.

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