Monday, May 28, 2012


When I was in third grade, I knew a kid named A.J. who had buck teeth, and they were pretty damn gross. They weren't gross by virtue of the fact that they were buck teeth, and even if I thought buck teeth were gross I wouldn't have much room to talk, as my teeth were slightly worse than this:
Now they've gotten better. That's a current picture. There are very few pictures of me grinning.

What made A.J.'s teeth so nasty is that the constantly visible two front ones were covered in a thin orange layer of... something. Nobody ever talked about it, or made fun of him, and he wasn't even particularly mean or nice or popular. It was just a taboo. One did not speak badly of A.J. Jenkins' teeth.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not known for being particularly observant, and I have literally slept through at least two hurricanes, so it's possible that A.J. lived a hellish life full of torment and derision. But if he did live that life, he lived it where I could not see.

Except for one day, and it sticks out in my memory like a sore thumb. I'm sure everyone else in that class can remember it, too.

A.J. made Justin Silverman mad. I don't know how; I don't know why. All I know is that he got Justin so mad that he stopped in the middle of activity time, raised his face to the sky, and screamed with the fury of a thousand Viking warriors "A.J. is a weirdo with stuff on his teeth!"

And then everybody was like:

And then nobody ever spoke of it again.

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