Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make.
I used to wear braces.
Shocking, I know.
Just like my kids do today, I used to visit the orthodontist every six to eight weeks to have said practitioner and one of his three lovely assistants put my teenaged grill through its paces with assorted collections of pliers, mallets, brackets, wires, and pulleys in the most ambitious of expectations that my choppers would straighten out.
Sure they’re straight today, but the preparatory work left me eight teeth short. That’s the way they did things in the 80’s. Pull teeth out to make room for the rest of the rack.
But I’m not here to produce a comparative essay on the differences between today’s orthodontics and those of yesteryear.
Back in the day, I used to get pretty sore after visiting the maniacal heathen who was charged with the future of my smile. Change out a wire or two, tighten them, add small rubber bands and assorted chains, it’s only to be expected that one’s jaw is going go be hurting after treatment.
Walking out to Mom’s Delta 88 after each of those sessions, I only had one thing to say to her. “Oh, my teeth hurt.”
Screw the aspirin, the ibuprofen, or even the crack. I didn’t want drugs to relieve my ailment.
I needed something cold, chocolate, and possessing of a hint of malt powder.
At the time, the small town in central Wyoming where I grew up sported one Dairy Queen. It was right off of Interstate 25. They sponsored out little league at the time. Believe me, there’s nothing more manly than sporting a Dairy Queen patch on your baseball uniform.
Back then, I could get a large (20 oz.) chocolate malt for $1.25 of my parents’ hard earned money. I remember it fondly. The cure to my orthodontial torture was cured by the creamy, chocolaty, sensation poured into a familiar yellow cup donned with images of Dennis the Menace, and all of the other characters from that comic strip which lent their appearances to the successful marketing of soft serve ice cream.
Even to this day, I receive regular reminders about said incidents from Mom. Granted, those aren’t direct reminders though.
A few years ago when it was determined that the TharpSter teenagers were in need of some dental bling, Mom made it a point to insure that both kids knew the requisite phrase to utter upon leaving any appointment with the current grill master.
“Oh, my teeth hurt.” There’s a Dairy Queen just up the road from the orthodontist’s office.
You know, there was a time that the owners and proprietors of Dairy Queens would strategically place their stores off of freeways and highways in order to lure the weary traveller.
Nowadays, they station themselves near dental facilities to lure sore gums.
Prove me wrong, I dare you.
“Oh, my teeth hurt.”
I wrote that piece not only to give you a background on my love of a good malt, but also to pay homage to Mom. I would imagine she’ll offer up some commentary on that bit. Just watch out for it in the comments down below.
For the last month, I’ve been under the treatment of an ophthalmologist to resolve a “jacked up cornea” on my left eye. I’m sure the ophthalmologist could provide a more scientific term, most likely deserving of some italicized Latin to describe my ailment, but since it’s my eye I’ll describe it as I see fit.
I had my final appointment with him the other day where he told me the issue was resolved. He then dispatched me with instructions “not to wear my contacts so damn long during the day” (my words, not his). Good bye eye drops and antibiotics.
I had another place to be after that appointment and a little time to kill. While I sat there in the truck pondering my next move which would kill about 30 minutes, a little voice spoke up in my head.
“Oh my eyes hurt.” I’m just a little ashamed to admit here and now that I’ve parlayed various ailments over the years into justifying the acquisition of a malt.
My first response was “No they don’t, but I could sure use a malt about right now. It’s hot out here.”
It’s not like I have malts all of the time though. Looking back, I can’t even remember the last time I had one. The one thing I do remember was that it weighed in somewhere between 32 and 44 ounces, and generated a bill which would rival the gross domestic product of a small island nation. Price is among three of the reasons I don’t go get a malt that much anymore. The calorie count in those things also rivals the gross domestic product of a small island nation and subsequently makes it inconsistent with The TharpSter PounDown. The other issue for the stoppage is a condition which has manifested itself in the last five years or so. I won’t go into too much detail but for to mention “lactose intolerance” and “Immodia-moment”.
All things being equal, I have three good reasons for staying away from those things.
The other day, I was ready to throw caution to the wind and pick up a malt. My eyeballs hurt (not really), and I could deal with the other three issues accordingly.
I was already in the medical center here in San Antonio, so I broke out my smart phone and found the nearest orthodontist. Just a matter of blocks away sat a Dairy Queen.
Just as I had done so many times before at other locations, I pulled into the drive-thru and ordered a large chocolate malt. I had never been to this one before, but what’s the worst that could happen? It was a Dairy Queen.
Geez, I hate it when I ask myself questions like that.
When I got to the window, a hand extended out of the window and demanded $3.34. I gave the person attached to the hand the cash, to which she returned a malt in a 20 ounce cup. It had a similar lid which could fit over a Slurpee, and there was whipped cream on the top of it.
Did I mentioned it was only 20 ounces?
“Excuse me ma’am,” I stated. “I ordered a large.”
“That is a large. We recently changed our sizes.”
“Ah. Hidden inflation, I see.” I responded.
“No sir. We haven’t increased our prices.”
“Umm, right. Okay, tell you what. You could drive a truck through the hole in this lid. Do you have a regular lid which won’t make the malt part of my interior when I get into a flame laden, high speed road rage incident in about 10 minutes when I realize just how much of a profit margin you people are getting off of me with this transaction?”
“Sorry sir. That’s the only lid we have to fit the particular cup.”
“Wonderful. Just as I expected. Fortunately, the medical examiner will be able to identify my charred body based on my dental records. I have 8 fewer teeth than others do thanks to the orthodontic practices of the 1980’s.”
“I was born in the 90’s, sir.”
And then I left.
I won’t be going to that particular Dairy Queen anymore. I don’t plan to call the management of said establishment in order to lodge a complaint on what I would expect to be deaf ears.
Naturally by writing and publishing this piece, I’ve taken steps to hijack a Google search or two if the casual internet surfer should be looking for Dairy Queen on the web. When I post a link to this article on my Facebook wall, I’ll look to tag Dairy Queen in it as well.
In the meantime, I will continue to apply the anti-malt trinity when determining if my teeth or any other body part hurts enough to justify going through that process again.
You know, I have a propensity for chicken fajita nachos too. I use the same three reasons for avoiding those that I do for avoiding the malts.
I can only hope that some idgit doesn’t put whipped cream on my next order of them the next time I have an ailment to cure.