On Birthdays and Water Picks

I have a reputation for being anti-adult birthday. This is not entirely true, but it’s close enough to the truth that I have leaned into it, since overall, I’m more anti than pro. In actuality, I mostly just feel that it’s unseemly for an adult to make a huge deal out of their birthday or to be especially demanding about it. Specifically, I feel it’s weird when an adult insists that their birthday be observed on their actual birthday, rather than, say, the following Saturday. It’s not polite to insist that everyone get babysitters and be out late on a random Tuesday just because you’re turning some unremarkable age like 36. It’s also weird when people insist they cannot do something important on a certain day because it’s their birthday. Just observe your birthday the following week, who gives a fuck?

For my birthday this year, I received a combination electric toothbrush and water pick, because I asked for it. It was not, therefore, a surprise. I don’t really understand adult presents, either, because most of us have our own money and can just buy anything that we want for ourselves. But every year, my parents ask me what I want, and usually I don’t have an answer, but this year, I had just gone to the dentist and they told me I needed an electric toothbrush and a water pick, so I said this. This was the first time I had been to the dentist in two years, and they told me that I have receding gums. They said I needed some sort of spraying treatment and that my insurance would only pay for them to do half my mouth at a time, so I had to go back again a second time. I don’t know if any of this is true — they could have just been making all of it up, how would I know? But anyway, I got the spraying treatment.

One thing that annoys me about going to the dentist is that you have to get x-rays. I have never had a cavity in my entire life, and I am never going to have a cavity, so the x-rays are always entirely unnecessary. I understand that the dentist cannot possibly know that in my case, they are unnecessary. They can’t just take my word for it that I’m not going to have a cavity. I tell them every time and they act smug about it, like “we’ll see” and then I don’t and they see also that I never have, and they praise me and say there is no one like me. If there is a hygienist present, usually the two of them will exclaim to each other about how excellent my teeth are, and how superior I am to their other patients.

One time a dentist told me that if I ever died in a fiery crash, they would have a hell of a time identifying my body, because my teeth are perfect. I think this is my favorite compliment I’ve ever received, the perfect combination of macabre and awkward.


  1. Pam Kocke says:

    I am delighted to unseemly and cavity-ridden and also your friend!


    1. Elizabeth says:

      I wouldn’t have it any other way!



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