So when I was in first grade or so (that's when teeth start falling out, right?) I had a wiggly tooth. It was one of the front ones - I'm not sure which one... I'm not sure if I could give you the name of it even if I did know which one... I know teeth have names: canines, incisors, eye teeth, etc... but I'm a bit fuzzy on which is which, except the molars... it wasn't a molar, that much I know. Anyhoo, I know some of you come from homes where your precious, doting parents had no problem letting loose teeth become more and more wobbly until they are hanging by a thread (a thread of what I don't even want to know) and eventually fall out on their own... Please take a moment right now and thank God in heaven for blessing you so richly... Alas, I did not grow up in such a home. As a child I remember being afraid to admit to my parents that I had a wiggly tooth - at the first mention they would make an "appt" with me (typically immediately following dinner and right before bed THAT VERY NIGHT) to YANK the poor tooth right out of my face.
On this particular day, I did NOT, I repeat, I did NOT admit that my tooth was wiggly. Somehow, my clever parents figured it out on their own - (perhaps I shouldn't have moved it back and forth with my tongue throughout supper)... "Fred, It looks like you'll need to pull Carla's tooth tonight," my mom said. "Noooooooooooo!!!!!" I shrieked. I knew it was going to hurt. I KNEW it was going to hurt. I was horrified that my parents would willingly CHOOSE to hurt their only daughter, their precious little girl! Savages! (Note to my parents who may be reading this blog now or in the future: I don't really think you are savages... I love you... you are wonderful parents... just go with me on this and we'll all have a good laugh in the end.)
Finally the time for my appointment with my father came. He met me in my parent's bathroom. I was already in tears. He didn't waste time on reassuring words... just reached in, grabbed my tooth and yanked. I gasped, and then, realizing that the tooth didn't come out, began to cry anew, knowing he'd have to do it all over again. He tried a couple more times (with the same result and the same reaction from me) then got a piece of toilet paper and dried the tooth off, trying to get a better grip.. YANK... no luck. That tooth was still there. At this point - I think most rational, adoring, devoted parents would have said, "Hmmm, perhaps that tooth just isn't ready to come out yet. Let's give it another day or two." Not my Dad. This had become a challenge! You see, my Dad is a fixer. When things went wrong with one of our cars - my Dad fixed it. When something broke at home - my Dad fixed it. My Dad would lay underneath the sink grunting and sweating and yelling at the pipes ("You sorry sapsucker!"), but he would eventually fix it. And NOTHING waited until tomorrow. If it was broken now it needed to be fixed now. So, you see, my poor tooth didn't stand a chance. It needed to come out NOW!
I squirmed as I sat on the toilet seat watching and waiting as the wheels spun in my Dad's head and he plotted his next move. The next thing I knew he was pulling out the dental floss from one of the bathroom drawers. WHAT!?! He tied one end of the length of floss around my tooth and wrapped the other end around his middle finger, as I wimpered and my eyes became as big as saucers... YANK... no luck.
"Humpf," my Dad said. I suppose he decided that he hadn't used enough force or perhaps didn't have the right angle or leverage... because the next thing he did - brace yourselves - was to tighten the floss on my tooth and then tie the other end to the doorknob on the bathroom door!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I mention that this is a TRUE STORY?!?
What a sight we must have been at that moment... my Dad with a maniacal gleam in his eye, not ready to be shown up by a measly baby tooth, me - tear stained face, eyes bugging out, backside barely touching the toilet seat lid while my toes gripped the carpet (why oh why do they put carpet in bathrooms?) and my torso leaned as far forward as it would go (the length of floss my Dad used wasn't quite long enough for me to sit up straight and remain connected to the door - waste not, want not after all), my wobbly tooth tied with floss attached to the doorknob, vanity mirror capturing this ridiculous scene and, in affect, doubling it all.
Finally, my Dad stepped outside the door, counted to three (why is it always three?) and SLAMMED THE DOOR. What happened next is all a blur. I tentatively reached up with the tip of my tongue PRAYING that the tooth was gone so that the carnage could end... Thank You God! My Dad opened the door, looked in my mouth, and triumphantly declared, "GOT IT!" Then he turned around to retrieve my tooth from the limp piece of floss hanging from the doorknob. A second later he turned back around to me and said, "Where is it?" I was shocked. "I don't know," I said. Bewildered, we both began a thorough search of the tiny bathroom... it wasn't on the floor, in the sink, in the bathtub, in or on the toilet... it was gone. "It must have gone down the drain," my Dad deduced, then reassured me that the tooth fairy would come anyway... we would simply put an IOU under my pillow instead. (They may have been savages (not really Mom and Dad), but my parents were not cheapskates when it came to tooth fairy money... then again, perhaps it was just hush money - in which case, writing about it in this blog may be a breach of contract... I think I'll risk it.) Relieved that the whole ordeal was over and satisfied that I would, in fact, receive my just reward... I took a bath, put on my jammies, brushed my remaining teeth, said my prayers, put the IOU under my pillow and went to bed. I laid there for awhile, tossing and turning and listening to the faint sounds of the TV show my parents were watching at the other end of the house... then, my nose began to itch... I rubbed the outside a few times, but eventually that wasn't sufficient... and as all 6 year olds have been known to do, I took matters into my own hands, er, pointer finger... and out came my tooth... right out of my nose! I'm not making this stuff up, folks! I wasn't a physics major, so I can't explain to you how that tooth ended up in my nose... something to do with torque, velocity, force, e=mc squared, etc. I suppose, but that is where it ended up. Somehow, I doubt there is another child on the planet who has had the unique, disturbing, wonderful experience of finding their lost tooth in their very own nostril! (I always knew I was special.)
Normally, getting out of bed after one has been put to bed at the Anderson house would have been a "spanking offense," so believe me, I weighed my decision VERY CAREFULLY before climbing out of bed and heading down the hall to show off my discovery...I decided that this was, in fact, a unique situation. Now I know that since that moment, my parents have had occasions where they laughed just as hard as they did when I showed them my tooth and explained the situation to them, I just can't think of one of those occasions at the moment. =o)
And now you know...
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!