Nice to meet you, I’m a clencher.
A hold on tight, nothin’-gettin’-by-this-enamel-armada type of clencher.
At night, I’m probably a bruxist, as in one who grinds their teeth at night while asleep.
How do I know?
I can’t eat a hot dog without my jaw cracking with a sound that scares birds from the tree outside my dining room.
O, Anxiety, I crown thee with blossoms today. Queen of the Temporomandibular Joint, Queen of the May.
Instead of having Botox or collagen injections for my thinning lips and drooping eyelids, I’m having teeth molds done in order to have a “custom” appliance made for my mouth.
When the appliance came back from the lab it was the size of my thumb nail and fit over the bottom center teeth. It was a perfect fit except it made my jaw pain worse.
I think I know something about Bernie Madoff’s victims that has yet to be revealed. I watched two on The Charlie Rose show the other night and the evidence was clear.
Those with pre-existing anxiety disorders and definitely those who developed them in ’08 when the stock market and world appeared to be collapsing, have all developed jaw tics and terrors we’ve not yet fully understood.
The dentist may call it TMJ, but to a Madoff victim finding out that their life savings had gone up in Ponzi smoke? This requires another diagnosis and treatment.
I know that even without losing my entire nest egg to the market of ’08 and whatever we are calling the market of ’09, the turmoil has taken a toll. I am a changed girl. There’s no appliance to cushion those changes.
My dentist, who is of retirement age, said in all his life practicing as a dentist, he’s never had to call the lab and say, “It’s not working” as he just did for me.
The lab was nice and didn’t charge him and he was nice and didn’t charge me. So, the 500 dollars I would have had to spend for it, I am putting back under the mattress, photographing my teeth molds, and calling a musician.
Why a musician?
Now that the gloved one has passed on, the airwaves are begging for a new direction.
I think our fortunes, however humble, could be made once again if someone would write a John Cage type musical score of the new jaw sounds anxiety has created in the past year.
We could call it, “Ode to Mandibular”.
I feel my jaw relaxing just thinking about it.
©Pat Coakley 2009
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