To my Parents, Who Paid So Much Money to Have my Wisdom Teeth Properly Removed
The first time my parents and I got into a fight about what they called my “doping issues,” it was because I had hidden some weed edibles wrappers in my desk drawer. I was afraid to throw them into one of the communal waste bins in our house for fear of my family members digging through it in order to find dirt on my teenage antics, so I kept them in my desk drawers. I did not think about the fact that it was much more normal for parents to look in their child’s desk drawer for any poorly hidden paraphernalia instead of digging through the kitchen garbage.
Their biggest issue was the fact that the price was listed on the packaging and at $20 apiece for three of them, I was out $60. Well, not me. I didn’t have a job, and therefore I did not have a way to make the money for my habits. It was bought using money scraped together from allowance payouts, change from the money I was given to spend on grocery shopping, and anything I could find in my dad’s sock drawer and bike bag for roadside emergencies. Hopefully the day wouldn’t come where he needed to use it to pay a kind stranger for a tire patching kit and I had already spent it on a pot brownie. It was suggested to me that I don’t use their money to buy more illicit substances in the future, or else.
When I got my wisdom teeth removed, my parents were adamant about the fact that I shouldn’t go out late if my cheeks were swollen. Best to give them a rest and allow them to go down naturally before I left the house at all. If I was sequestered in the house under the guise of “bedrest,” surely my doping issues could be kept under control for a few days. I was one of the lucky few anomalies that didn’t have any swelling after my surgery. Instead of needing to stay inside and sit in the pain of inflammation from my bleeding mouth holes, I could pop a few Advil and spend that evening the way I loved to spend it during my sophomore year of high school.
I spent a lot of that year smoking weed in public parks, and I wanted to do something special for myself for being such a brave boy while getting my mouth sliced open. Despite the fact that I could count my stitches by running my tongue over them, I deserved a joint, so after I sufficiently begged my parents and dry swallowed a few Advil pills to prove how adamant I was about “taking a walk,” I was aloud to walk out the front door.
Dropping the embellishments — was it a good idea for me to inhale hot smoke with four bleeding open wounds in my mouth? To that I say absolutely, as long as I blow it out super fast. And besides, four open bleeding wounds just meant the THC would enter my bloodstream much, much faster. I would be stupid not to smoke the night I got my wisdom teeth out, especially with the good omen of no swelling.
I am not a doctor, nor have I ever had a formal cauterization procedure done so I couldn’t say if this is exactly what happened, but as I felt the blood dry and scab in my mouth, I knew I would not be getting rid of these divots for a long, long time. When they scarred over, I knew that my shot glass gums were here to stay.
I’m reminded of this because recently I went to a house party that was shut down by the police. As we hid the alcohol and hunkered down in our various cabinets and bushes so as to not seem like we would be a further disturbance to the neighbors, I made a thrilling discovery. My buzz was on the downswing and the only thing still out with any alcohol content was hand sanitizer, my prospects were looking pretty grim and all signs were pointing to my hangover kicking in before I got to bed. Until I discovered that as I had been doing shots throughout the night, some backwashed vodka had been collecting in my wisdom teeth holes. Police were on the premises and I was in a bush getting drunk off of my own private store!
I hadn’t noticed it until this point in the night. I was feeling a little bit of the burn of an alcoholic beverage sitting stagnantly on a cluster of nerve endings, but honestly that could’ve been anything. As someone tall and unevenly weight-distributed, I’ve woken from many nights with a mystery bruise. When I ask what happened the answer is often “You just tipped over.” Sometimes down a flight of stairs. It wasn’t outside of the realm of possibilities to land on my cheek, get up, and keep the party going with minor pain.
It’s a great thing to have secret pockets in my mouth for booze like squirrels have for nuts because it is generally frowned upon to take shots in the very places that you need them the most. Little League sports games would feel almost real if there were an open bar readily available…movies would get infinitely better opening weekend reception if the critics were waking up the next morning violently hungover and only able to remember thinking “I had fun”…visiting family in hospice would be a lot easier. And now I can secretly get completely wasted at all of these places I’ve wanted to so badly over the years. There’s no bottle and as long as I don’t throw up from the taste of pure grain alcohol, nobody will have a clue.
Every time food gets stuck in my open gum holes, I’m reminded of that bad decision I made during my sophomore year of high school. Though when viewing it for the totality of possibilities it has opened up for me, I can’t help but thank my younger self for his foresight. Something like this isn’t always just a mistake, it can be a stepping stone to much, much worse decisions.