Prologue: First Encounters

I used to have bad teeth… more specifically, my whole mouth was a mess.

The orthodontist showed me an x-ray of my mouth and I asked why he was showing me a dog’s skull. He told me that I had an overbite AND an underbite – I’m still not sure how that was possible. My whole life up until that point I had never been able to take a real satisfying bite. Because of the large gap between my upper and lower teeth I would press my tongue against my upper teeth to finish the act of what other people could normally do without calling attention to themselves. ‘Biting off more than you can chew’ never really made much sense to me. It wasn’t all too uncommon for me to finish a plate of spaghetti with a somewhat bloodied tongue; I had never eaten a hamburger without eating all the tomatoes and pickles at the beginning, pulled out by my incomplete granny teeth.

If you saw me now you probably wouldn’t think I had any trouble eating… I am quite round in certain places… My mismatched jaws did not deter me from becoming the trencher I am today, in all honesty I didn’t even know it was abnormal until that day with the orthodontist. I thought everyone ate like me. After a too long period of cutting spaghetti with my tongue I learned to adapt, rather poorly, but still. Instead of daintily rolling the noodles on a fork or even using a knife to cut them on my plate I went with the much more satisfying shove-the-whole-mess-into-my-mouth-and-see-what-happens approach. This naturally led to hurried gulps of water to clear a blocked throat, a stupid face of full cheeks and noodle hanging out of an overflowing mouth, exasperation from mother, and disgust from the sisters.

Nevertheless, I trudged on and my love of noodles flourished. I can’t stick a whole sandwich or slice of pizza into my mouth (I take that back now that I think about it) but I can work a bowl of noodles in there no problem. I love noodles, doesn’t matter the style, dish or flavor. There’s something about the act of eating them that I can’t get away from. I love bread, rice, potatoes, name the starch and I’ll eat it–but the noodle reigns supreme in my stomach. Several years of expanders, braces, surgery, wires, and liquid diets later (the dark days I call them) I have a perfectly serviceable set of teeth that can cut through slices of tomato and lettuce no problem… but I still eat noodles all in one go… I mean, why not?


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