Over a month ago, I had lost a tooth. I didn’t misplace it or do shady transactions with a meth addict. It was thanks to a busted filling and an infection, resulting in my tooths removal from his gummy home. Goodbye molar. You will be surely missed.
I never understood why we only have two sets of teeth. In a biological sense I do. But a serious toothache can lead to a slew of health risks, possibly death.
So why do sharks have an endless surplus of teeth? Besides using driftwood as toothpicks, all they do is eat and grow teeth. Mako and I found a humpback carcass near the sandbar, wanna come? Nah, just gonna swim around and grow teeth. Sharks are show-offs.
Our first set is spent before we realize Santa Claus isn’t real. And for the rest of our natural lives, left with the final set, worrying about enamel, maintenance and presentation of our remaining grill. Who did the math? Oh yeah, Intelligent Design.
In June, a collaboration of Army and Air National Guard along with the Army and Air Reserve, commenced Operation Tropic Care. The mission was to provide healthcare to those in need. It was originally named, Operation Experiment on the Pharmaceutically Deprived Because We Have Federal Grants That Will Dissipate If We Don’t Use Them, so Lets Spend It on a Trip to Hawaii Care.
I come from a very rural area of Hawaii. So rural, if you were to visit, you would confuse it with 1987. I saw a Google Maps car one day, attempting to digitize our dirt roads. With a lost look on his face, the driver asked for directions to the nearest time portal. Regardless of being unaffected by time, here is a place where you can plan to do absolutely nothing. People spend thousands of dollars to vacation here to specifically do that. Nothing. Not that there’s nothing TO do. But it’s a stark contrast from a city’s hustle and bustle, and one of Hawaii’s few remaining gems.
Being unable to afford proper health care, I was excited to hear of the arrival of volunteer Doctors and Dentists. Foreshadowing a relief for my throbbing toothache. That also meant the National Guard had figured out the proper hieroglyphic combination of the Stargate.
After I gladly donated my tooth to dentistry, I also sat with an optometrist that suggested prescription glasses. Philanthropic programs like Operation Lab Rat are rare opportunities. Now, my newly given pair of spectacles help me see the money I don’t have.
I sat and stood and waited in long lines with my fellow neighbors. Many of them having English as their second language. A handful in wheelchairs. Mostly elderly. Some missing appendages. Some not knowing the definition of appendage. The lines were devoid of any glitz and glam. The people here are thick skinned. Familiar with labor intensive trades like ranching, agriculture and fishing, they make their humble earnings off the callouses on their hands.
I am not that lucky, because I have princess hands. I use Dove body wash because I’m naturally figured. I moisturize after I type. My true callouses resides within my gift of gab. The journey of losing a tooth was a reminder not of the thinness of my wallet, but of recognition. Recognition of where I come from. Recognition of the abundance of the nothing that people pay to experience. Recognition that a fifty foot coconut tree is the tallest skyscraper. Recognition of the allure I wake up to every day. I wake up in Hawaii.