Modern Life
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The Losing (And Gaining) Of Wisdom

The thing about getting your wisdom teeth out is that everyone has had theirs out too, and of course there’s a horror story about how they had to do it right there in the dentist chair with only a petrol rag sniff of happy gas while the nurse was manhandling their lower pearly whites with the amount of force it takes to undo a really tight bolt on a flat tyre.

I imagine it (the opinionating & the storytelling, not the tyre-bolt-unscrewing) to be similar to the thoughtful suggestions & heartfelt comments that a pregnant lady receives. In the same way that a woman “with child” really loves it when perfect strangers tell her that her belly bump will be a boy because of how big her butt is, or that their neice had a 48-hour horror labour and required 30 stitches at the end, I found it extremely useful to receive unsolicited advice about how sore my throat would be or how purple my face would go or how much cotton wool I would need to stuff in my cheeks to contain all the blood oozing from my holes-in-my-jaw-where-teeth-once-were.

I have never actually had a baby so I’m only speculating from the experiences of my girlfriends, but it’s not limited to just motherhood and painful dental operations. It seems to be a common human desire to inform one another of the pain/stress/carnage that awaits them, seemingly with the aim of preparing, or at least warning, the pain/stress/carnag-ee of their impending doom. In fact, the real benefactor is your helpful buddy’s self esteem – they also have been through what you are about to go through, they had to endure much worse than you will probably have to, they were much tougher than you will have to be, in other words “don’t be a chicken, suck it up!”

Now that said wisdom teeth are long gone, I can’t help but recount my terrible tale to anyone who’ll listen. “Well, actually, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought” (cue patronising smile on behalf of the listener who now thinks I must have been freaking out to a level far beyond normal).

“Oh, well, you’re lucky, things have really improved. It’s not like back in the ‘90s when they sent you away with a couple of aspirin and a prescription for Aeroplane Jelly.”

Could it not be possible that, actually, the whole procedure is NOT THAT BAD? That, actually, it’s a pleasure to get a whole week off work with a doctor’s certificate to say that someone is medically obliged to stay with me and look after me and do whatever I want and make me banana smoothies because getting some teeth out severely affects my ability to peel a banana and get milk out of the fridge? Come on, people!

OK, in fairness, maybe you are about to have this done and are thinking – has she gone mental? Who would enjoy that?! So I confess, there were some adverse outcomes of the whole darned incident, the worst of which is a green apple jelly addiction costing me more than $3.00 a week. Consider yourself warned.

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