Thursday, June 30, 2011

Part of What is Normal

My Dad lost all his teeth when he was 15. He didn’t lose them really, he had them pulled out. The story is that he had a lot of cavities and rather than pay for the treatment, my grandfather, a legendary pennypincher, had the dentist “extract”. My Dad, at age 15, had to go to school for two weeks, maybe longer now that I think about it, without any teeth, while they made his dentures. At the height of puberty. In High School. Obviously there are worse things to endure, but I think it’s one of the defining experiences of my Father’s life and goes a long way to describe the funny/sad/rageful part of his personality that all of his children seem to have inherited. Ahem.

The weird part is that my grandfather was a nice guy, well nice isn’t the right word, he was interesting and he was smart and funny and we liked each other, though maybe if I had been around him more, he would have tortured me too. It seems like something more than just frugality would cause a father to make such a decision for his child. Still when my Dad recalls this story, he doesn’t say it with bitterness, so much as a shoulder shrug. Yeah, I had all my teeth pulled out when I was 15. In the middle of the school year. No big.

It reminds me of the things we get used to, in our families mostly, like the three-legged bed or the drawer without a handle I wrote about a few days ago: things that seem like they’d be easy to fix but just get overlooked until they become part of what is normal to you.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure that a Father who experience something like that to his father which happens to be your grandpa, will never let you experience any related scenario that he has experience.