Picture me placing a flashlight under my chin because it’s time to tell a scary story, camp-fire style. This one goes out to my sister Chelsey.
Once upon a time, I got my wisdom teeth extracted. After I woke up from my operation, I was convinced that there was a snake growing inside my bottom lip and the first thing I said to my mom was, “I look like Aretha Franklin!” I’m not kidding. The end.
Vincent Price does at the end of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Kidding. I know that Chelsey is already nervous to have four teeth cut out of her gums, and I have no intentions of escalating her fears. In fact, I would consider myself a decent advice-giver when it comes to this operation since I went through it nearly three years ago.
What I can say about getting your wisdom teeth out is that it makes you discover a newfound appreciation for soupy, soft foods. My Wisdom Teeth Diet (this is a book that I have yet to publish) included many appetizing options: chicken noodle soup, Ramen noodles, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, cookies ‘n cream ice cream, macaroni and cheese, strawberry banana yogurt and dirt. Dirt as in, that yummy Oreo and whipped cream dessert that seems to rock everybody’s world.
While some may think that Popsicles are ideal for the Wisdom Teeth Diet, that is false. At least for me, anyway, because I could hardly open my mouth. This presented a challenge because I wasn’t Pacman, but I was hungry.
And bored. So when you get bored after resting on the couch for hours upon hours, you begin to invent games, such as “How Far Can I Open My Mouth?” or “What is the Color of the Gauze in my Mouth?” The latter game isn’t quite as entertaining, considering that the colors are either pink or red. Bonus points if it’s white, though.
Post-surgery, I guess what bothered me the most were the stitches. I felt like I had a cactus growing in the back of my mouth because those stitches could best be described as sharp and painful. You can bet that my tongue kept its distance.
And now that I think about it, another thing bothered me just as much: I never got to see my wisdom teeth after it was all said and done. I never got to see how wise they looked. I never got to ask the surgeon where I could locate my honorable, funny and creative teeth now that my wisdom teeth were gone. Removed. Forever. Checked out of Hotel Kayla’s Mouth for eternity.
I wondered what happened to them... were the teeth thrown away or sent away? I had briefly imagined that the oral surgeon put them in an envelope and shipped them off to Tooth Fairy Land so that the Tooth Fairy could decorate her house. Perhaps my wisdom teeth could serve as shelves or tables or chairs.
But then I thought of something better. I decided that the oral surgeon must have sent them to Far Away Land, where all the other extracted wisdom teeth are sent. The historical landmark in Far Away Land is Wise Mountain. And you can guess what the mountain is made of, right?
So chances are good that Chelsey’s teeth will arrive in Far Away Land, where they will be examined like a tree stump. The Wise Mountain employees will determine that the teeth came from an 18-year-old girl who eats a lot of hot wings, pickles and popcorn.
And then they will add her teeth to Wise Mountain.
It’s too bad that I need a real flashlight placed under my chin in order to tell the rest of this story. Just know that the Wise Mountain employees plan to charge admission if Aretha Franklin comes to town.
(Kayla Pongrac is the daughter of Greg and Maryann Pongrac, Stoystown. She is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.)