Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jaw Tales: Part Three


In spite of Betty’s fast-paced, jet-set lifestyle, there are times during the day when I am forced by nature to take a break from grading, stapling, and reading.

I'm a busy gal, but when nature calls, I answer.

It is when I am standing in front of the mirror in the restroom at school washing my hands, that I realize I am dangerously close to becoming the kooky lady with lipstick on her teeth, cat hair on her coat, and an eye twitch that can be mistaken for affection by the janitor who waits outside the door with his strongly-scented cleaning products.

It does not help that, because of a dramatic jaw surgery years ago in which a certain surgeon nicked a certain important nerve (whoopsie!) I no longer have full sensation on the surface of my lower lip and chin.

This does not mean (as some mean-spirited acquaintances have suggested) that you can use Betty, a blindfold, a fake beard and a package of pushpins as a party game. It does mean, however, that I can, without knowing it, carry a kernel of corn, a potato chip, or a good-sized lettuce leaf complete with ranch dressing on my chin throughout much of a meal and not feel it.

Thus, when we are out to eat with new couples, I try and position HOB across the table so he can give me the all-important “chin alert” which consists of discreetly waving the forefinger in the air towards his own chin like a sly catcher during a baseball game. Seeing this signal prompts me to whip the napkin out and clean up whatever mess there is before the guests can see it.

However, there are times when HOB is beside me, the couple is in front of me and, driven by bottomless glasses of highly-caffeinated beverages, I mistake the horrified looks of my dinner companions for intense interest in whatever story I am telling. It is then, I turn up the intensity of my highly-amusing verbiage to the “turbo” setting, causing me to become even more animated, both in words and in body language. Across the table there is much bobbing and weaving of the dinner companions-turned-nervous-cockatiels as they anticipate the eventual departure of the food from my chin.

It's a problem.

However, as inconvenient as this affliction of mine is, it does serve as a handy barometer for friendship. I am forever grateful for my true friends who discreetly, and without amusement give me the signal to wipe my chin when needed.

I may like you and find you fascinating BUT if, after three meals/snacks together, and a complete explanation from Betty about her dramatic, harrowing, life-changing surgery, you still get a huge kick out of the cilantro on Betty’s chin, then the elevator of friendship pretty much stops and you must exit on the very seldom-visited "acquaintance" floor.

(This level does not involve communal food ingestion of any kind and thus places you in the same category as religious zealots, political nut-jobs, and bullies.)

Sorry.

Need to exit? The elevator is no longer accessible, but the stairs are to the right. You be careful, OK? Those suckers can be as slippery as those darn scalpels, but if you should have any problems after a major surgery, you call me and maybe we’ll do lunch.

OK?

Affectionately yours,
Betty


Past posts about my jaw surgery (because you don't have other things to do):


48 comments:

Catherine said...

Oh my stars Betty ~ now I have to go read the rest of your Jaw Tales! I'm glad you can make the best of your situation and you tell your story so well with humour.

It is amazing that some people won't tell you when you have something on your face or your teeth isn't it? I 'love' coming home from work at 5 pm to find pen on my face and then realizing I hadn't held a pen since 9 am and then wondering how many people I talked to saw the pen on my face and didn't say anything. GAAAK!

Yup ~ I think you have it right ~ true friends will discreetly let you know to give your face or nose a little wipe, but carry on the conversation. They will always get to ride the elevator with us! :)

Happy Wednesday Betty!
xo Catherine

slommler said...

I hate when that happens and I don't have a surgery related reason for not knowing something is on my chin, or in my teeth or on my chest!!!!!! And no one says a word!!
But when you talked about the kooky lady with lipstick on her teeth, cat hair on her coat and an eye twitch that can be mistaken for affection by the janitor..........Ha!!!! You had me rolling!!
I am going to be that kooky lady because I just can't see very well anymore. And I am always dropping food on my chest!!! And the other day I accidentally spotted a two inch black hair growing out of my chin. WTH?? And no one said a word about it. Sigh!!
I eradicated the sucker but still..not even husband said a word.
Hugs
SueAnn

Joe Cap said...

Uh...you've got a little something on your chin there...

Madi and Mom said...

Oh BB what a jaw dropping story...
you have my sympathy too...as I once had gum surgery on my entire mouth and it was wired shut. However, I didn't have any nerve damage....good grief!!!

When I tell my hubby he has something between his teeth he always says (even after 41 years),
I know I'm saving it for a snack....and after 41 years I still laugh.

Hugs Madi and Mom

Copyboy said...

I never even knew that affliction was possible. BTW...I'm a bad friend when it comes to telling someone they have %$#% in their teeth. I never know what to say. So I just let us both suffer in silence.

Gaston Studio said...

Ohhhh, I just hate it when someone doesn't tell me something is amiss. Are they shy about it, like Copyboy, or are they secretly wishing everyone you know will come along to witness?! That sounds snarky, I know, but it only takes a few seconds to tell someone for gosh sakes. BTW, I had a little toe operation many moons ago and when I woke up, my toe was on sideways. Damn surgeons.

Oh Sew Good said...

I will let you know if you have food on your chin. Will you let me know if I have mascara smudged under my eyes or sleep in the corners? :)

Jules said...

Okay, I'm sorry I had to laugh first. I had not read the other related tales. But due to breaking my nose 3 times I cannot feel that entire region of my face. Can we say Sun Burn :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Out on the prairie said...

Wow, I am glad that manner was cleared. While in another state my hosts took me to an oyster bar.Not only did the guys wife talk and smile nonstop while trying to chew with her few teeth she had up front, but she kept forgeting to wipe errant cocktail sauce.Guess I should have done more than talk about her for hours after.Well it will never happen again, she passed away.

Leah J. Utas said...

I'm a sloppy eater and really like messy food. We really ought to break bread someday so you can signal me about all the food on my chin, cheeks, clothing. I've been known to get some in my mouth, too, so stand warned.

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

ok, I finally stopped laughing over the twitch/wink at the janitor part.

I think I would develop OCD and probably wipe my chin every few seconds.

Brian said...

I guess it could have been lots worse somehow, but I'm sure it doesn't seem that way.

Old Kitty said...

Oh you poor thing!! I always tell people who consider me their friend to not be shy when it comes to me not looking my best!! If the hair cut/glasses/colour of shoes do not suit me I would rather they tell me and not pretend everything is well with the world!!!!

Awwww I just read your trip to the zoo while your jaw was still wired shut - awwww!!! And are we ok with the diet pepsi?!!?!!

Take care
x

Brian Miller said...

you know...real friends look out for each other...and i would hate to have to walk the stairs...smiles.

Marlene said...

You have such a way with words! Chuckling at the janitor line! LOL!

My hubby has full sensation of his lower lip and chin area, and I can assure you I am constantly letting him know he's got a dribble of food sitting there. (He always answers, "I know. I'm getting to it.")

Baby Sister said...

I hate when the just do a little slip up and it ends up changing your life in one way or another.

Here's hoping you always find good friends that don't laugh at you. I wouldn't!! :)

Anonymous said...

Betty, I'll tell you about your cilantro if you tell me about my hair playing cockatiel.

Entre Nous said...

Um, at least you have an excuse for black licorice stuck between the teeth making a person ( yuh, OK, ME) looking like I came straight out of the hills and had never met a dentist. I have to stop reading other people's dental stories though, it appears my cowerdice grows with every passing year..... :}

roxy said...

If you endure jaw surgery, I think you're entitled to talk about it. Loved the bit about the janitor's reaction to the eye twitch. Such a great post, Betty.

Nezzy said...

I'm sayin' girl! I'm the gal who runs up behind the lady walkin' out of the restroom with the back of her skirt tucked in while every one is pointin' and laughin' behind their back. Believe you me ... I would let ya know!

Sure made for a dog gone funny post though...Heeehehehe!

Oh well, when life gives ya lemons baby....

God bless ya and have the most amazing day sweetie!!!

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

I have many friends who give me the chin signal. But they do it with their third finger. What does that mean, Betty?
xoRobyn

Aging Mommy said...

Blunt being my middle name I'd tell you!

Love your new header photo, that is a great shot!

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

If I had these high standards, I'd be divorced. My husband laughs his little butt off every time I get a bit of food stuck in my teeth.

Seeing something on my chin would just amuse the crap out of him.

I know what you mean about that friend elevator though. It's good to have such a definitive test.

Jimmy said...

Heck I'm not proud Betty, I am not beyond pointing to my chin to give you the heads up so to say to wipe your chin, I have to point to my eyebrows once in a while to get Cindys attention too, not that she had surgery she just loves food and it goes everywhere :)

So next time we sit down for a meal I will help HOB give you signs if he will help pass them along to Cindy too.

Liz said...

Oooh, BB - I know that pain, feeling (and lack thereof) all too well! Thankfully Craig is supportive!

For me, it's my top lip, left side, and bottom lip, right side that are screwy.

baygirl32 said...

I don't have a problem telling someone they have something on their face, trailing behind their shoe or in their teeth. I just often lack the tact to do it nicely.

Ann said...

I would gladly let you know that you have your lunch on your chin. At least you have an excuse for it, what about me?

Peggy K said...

Okay, so I couldn't resist going back to read parts 1 & 2. Well, I actually just went back and read part 2, and I'm happy to say I don't need to do any exercise today because my stomach feels like I just did 100 sit-ups. I never laughed so hard!! Sorry to make this short...I gotta go read part 1.
And for the record, if we ever have lunch together, I got your back...er, your face. Whatever, you know what I mean!!!

Mamma has spoken said...

I can't help but wonder why you had this surgery. But beside this, I did read your other parts of the jaw story and had to laugh about your adiction to Diet Pepsi. Though I would be the friend who would personally tell you if you had something on your chin. Yea, I'd have your back, or should I say front :o/

Melissa (A Gracious Calm) said...

My jaw surgery was 5.5 years ago and if I rub my right cheek, my chin tingles because a nerve never regenerated properly.

Oh and I gave blood several months ago and the nurse pricked (teehee) a nerve in my arm and if I rub my forearm, it tingles down my wrist.. *sigh*

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You can wear a whole burger on your chin and I won't snark once, promise!

Susan Fields said...

I had a tooth that had to be turned 90 degrees with my braces when I was a kid. It's still got a strange orientation and likes to catch food. I feel your pain. :)

Anonymous said...

I prefer to find the flaw myself and then convince myself I'm the only one who is aware of it. Denial, a really good thing.

Toyin O. said...

interesting story.

http://youcanfacetodaybecausehelives.blogspot.com

Daisy said...

I once was the hostess for a program at the library where I greeted folks as they entered and directed them to the room they were to go. I discovered after the program when I got home that I had a bit of broccoli from my lunch in a very prominent spot on my front tooth that had to have been there all afternoon before, during, and after the program. No one said a word to me about it. Believe me, I will tell you as discreetly as possible if you have a little something on your chin. :-)

Pat Tillett said...

To be honest, I did notice a dangling participle here. I nodded at you to get your attention, but you wouldn't look at me...

great post!
but sorry about the nerve and all...
Now that you've given me a further reading assignment, I'm off!

faye said...

Another great post ..

Don said...

Funny!

Hilary said...

Poor you.. I read the other two posts. That had to be a horribly painful time for you. Now if you have cilantro on your face, chances are that I won't be sitting with you, as I hate that evil herb but anything else and I'd give you the sign. I'm keeping my spot on the elevator.

art2cee2 said...

don't feel bad Betty. There are plenty of people who have not had jaw surgery that will eat entire meal with something hanging from their chins. its the klutzes of the world that you need to watch out for (like me) who will get up to leave with a takeout container, trip, and jettison that said container onto someone else's table. :-)

art2cee2 said...

don't feel bad Betty. There are plenty of people who have not had jaw surgery that will eat entire meal with something hanging from their chins. its the klutzes of the world that you need to watch out for (like me) who will get up to leave with a takeout container, trip, and jettison that said container onto someone else's table. :-)

Georgina Dollface said...

It's not easy having a loss of sensation in even the smallest spots on your body. In my case, I can't feel a certain spot on my left hip - like you, the result of surgery - which means that I could have my skirt tucked in my knickers in 5degrees below zero weather and not know it. True friends are a life line when it comes to knowing and understanding our flaws and foibles. Thanks for sharing. - G

Sarah said...

I may just say it to you as I have to others. Does that offend you? Do I have to get off the elevator?

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

That must suck.

I could divorce my husband by the number of times I have pizza or pepper in my teeth and he doesn't tell me. My 10 year old is always checking and I do the same for her. I love her.

My jaw locks on me when I eat crunchy food and then it takes about 30 minutes to go back to normal.

Staci said...

If it makes you feel any better, I know I've had food on my face quite a few times, and on my clothes, but I can't blame surgery. I'm just naturally messy and uncoordinated.

BTW, I've given you the Versatile Blog Award on my blog. Congrats!

Lisa said...

I always tell! I don't want too but I think boy! would I want to know. If I found out you had a medical problem then I'm your woman! so with that said GEE YICKES! I just hate it when things like that happen! My Jaw hurts! I can't read any more!

xoxo, Lisa

Jami said...

I find it refreshing that HOB is willing to be your wingman. My own husband is still, after over 15 years of coaching, an unreliable signaler in these situations. He says it doesn't matter if there is pepper in my teeth. Who cares?
Well, I do! And I guess I can add you to the list as well.

:)

A girl needs 2 Talk said...

You can dine with me any day. I'd drop food all over me like a baby. We'd match. :)