all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein

all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein
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Friday, January 14, 2005


The lights went out at the dentist's office today. Luckily, no one was mid-drill. I was waiting for a little bit of fixing for a crown that was pushing the neighboring tooth away. Although according to my dentist, I grind my teeth and have for years, and they made me a mouth guard to wear at night. Or as the hygienist put it, "Whenever you feel stressed out." Funny, but I don't really know when that is. And will I be able to cart out my guard when that happens? Is that something I should carry in my purse? It fits nicely around my teeth, like a good pair of jeans might fit around your middle, but it's not the most attractive thing in the world. If I'm in the middle of an argument with someone, trotting this thing out when things get stressful and then putting it on, then trying to speak through it, might prove hazardous to conversation.

It's interesting, this mouth guard. Having never had braces, or had much going on with the teeth in general, I'm somewhat amused by this new dental accessory. It makes me want to go play field hockey. It reminds me of heated NBA contests, when players tug their mouth guards out and then throw the first punch. It makes me think of closeups during televised football games, the arc of blood you might see over someone's eyebrow, the teardrops of sweat coming down the cheek...and the ubiquitous mouthguard.

It's amazing to me how white movie stars' teeth are. Mine are not that white. They're not bad, but they're not that white either. They're kind of...ecru. Or bone. I'm sure there are few synonms for off-white. Do you remember that commercial for Rembrandt toothpaste I think it was? A kindergarten teacher is asking her students to identify color. She points to the sky and they say "blue." She points to the grass and they say "green." Then she opens her mouth wide and points to her teeth. They pause, and then come up with all the words for "not white." It's quite funny.

Commercials. Speaking of them. My all-time favorite commercial that I always wanted to be in was for Big Red chewing gum. I wanted to be in that part of the commercial where the couple is smooching and the song goes "So kiss a little longer..." The ad ran during those years when I wasn't kissing anybody, so it got my heart rate up a little thinking about being in that commercial. And still, I wouldn't mind. It could be an interesting bit of trivia to pass around at parties. "Remember the updated Big Red commercial in '05? Well, I was the one standing under the ferris wheel kissing the big country boy after dark."


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