Oy! You With The Big Fat White Teeth! Shut up. (How To Greet People at HS Reunions)

Hahahahaha! Got a new art program. Wasn't paying attention to the top border. Looks like her head melted. But we'll pretend it was an artistic choice.

I've been noticing teeth a lot lately.

Not really sure why. Unless it's because as I age there is an appalling amount of porcelain gathering in my mouth. Wait. Do they make crowns out of porcelain anymore? I'm thinking maybe no. Because I imagine if they did my face would weigh about the same as a good-sized toilet. Many of which, incidentally, are also made of porcelain.

Pretty much none of my molars remain un-covered, bless them. And it's all happened so suddenly I am starting to think my teeth witnessed a murder and have entered a Witness Protection Program. I mean, it's like someone fired a starter pistol and wuhBAM! My chompers all fainted. Wusses.

Another thing I've been noticing is that as we age, our teeth become less brilliant. Less wintry. Less, shall we say, white. Most everyone I see of a certain age has a mouth full of rapidly antiquing ivories. And I've got an uphill battle where that's concerned because I spent years as a child being a strep-magnet and taking Tetracycline–a delightful pharmaceutical that turns your bones and teeth a luscious yellow the precise shade of corn. Yeah. It's awesome. I bleach, and it kind of works. I mean I get sort of a beige smile out of it. But mostly, they tell me, I am old and therefore cannot expect perfection. I must embrace the corn.

All of which brings me to my 30-year high school reunion.

Through a series of inexplicable events, I somehow wound up on the planning committee for the thing this year, even though I have not attended so much as one reunion prior to this. I had moved out of town, had babies, you name it, I always missed them. Then there was the year I wound up on the "No Idea Where She Is, She's Probably Been Kidnapped By a Drug Cartel" list and did not even receive the invitation. That's when I decided I'd better find out when the next bash was being held and get myself there. 

Well, as karma would have it, a classmate I ran into informed me that our 30-year was coming up and I was on the committee because Chamber Choir was in charge. I had been in Chamber Choir. Never mind that a rescue effort had never been launched and I was still being held captive in the jungles of Panama. I was on the freaking committee.

So I went to the meetings. And met up with all the frankly charming and delightful people I had been completely intimidated by in High School. And they were still charming and delightful. They had all known each other since they were 2 years old and capable of swapping binkies. There was a fabulous dynamic between them and an ability to remember all the same things and people. It was amazing to watch.

I, on the other hand, had come to my high school after attending three others (well, 2.5. One of them was a junior high. But I had been a Freshman there.) I had not grown up with these people and therefore shared no history. Yet they treated me as if I had always been one of their own. I felt myself relaxing. Laughing. Thinking, "Hey! They're cool! I'm cool! What was I ever worried about?"

And then . . . they smiled. Right at me. One after the other. And they all had ORIGINAL TEETH. IN WHITE! Perfect. Pearly. Straight. Gleaming. Nary a niblet among them. There wasn't one mouth that couldn't have been in a toothpaste commercial. There wasn't one set of lips that had been trained to dip slightly over the permanent chocolate stain along the gum line of the front teeth. These people were . . . untouchable.


Well, I did my job. I showed up at the event, gave everyone slightly dipped smiles. Handled my little assigned game along with a brilliant (alabaster-toothed) friend from days of yore. And then? 

I TALKED, baby! I set myself free! I imposed my imperfect teeth on anyone who would stand still for a second and listen to me. Why? Because I am older. I have lived and experienced, and I KNOW what is important in life, my friends.


That, and the ability to talk so fast your teeth are an invisible blur.

Yeah. I know how to handle this stuff. The next time you have a reunion, call me. I've totally got it.

And bring your teeth with you. 

About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


    • Hey man, I did the same thing except this for year. But I did enjoy seeing everyone. After 30 years life has made us all real. No pretense. Just easiness. It was nice.

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