“You're going to bleed, ok?”
There were a lot of things said to me Monday afternoon, but that was the only thing I heard. It was said to me by Teresa, an otherwise perfectly pleasant dental assistant.
Big as Barack Obama becoming the first Black President, big as Thomas Edison coming up with the first practical incandescent light bulb, big as Amanda Bynes asking Drake on Twitter to murder her vagina, Monday, the first of April, the thirteenth year of the 2000s, I, Shea Khalifa Aubrey Serrano, of the south side San Antonio Serranos, had my braces removed.
At 29-years-old, I opted to get braces. I wish I had some really great redemption story about how I had really terrible teeth as a child that I was embarrassed with. About being tormented and bullied in school because of them. About how, despite my begging for them, my parents never got them for me because our family was just too poor. About how I was singularly driven to become the first person in my family to graduate from high school and then college for no other reason than because I wanted straight teeth. That's not the case though.
I mean, they were crooked (and bucked), yes, but that never really bothered me. And I mostly avoided being picked on in school about it because I was good at enough things (playground basketball, making fun of people, wall ball, etc). And while my parents probably didn't have enough money to afford braces for me (high-five if you're familiar with the 2-for-1 food stamp-to-cash hustle), I've no doubt they would've plotted on some sort of way to get them had I asked. In fact, I seem to remember actively avoiding getting them despite their urgings. And the only reason I graduated college was because the woman I was chasing decided it'd be a good idea. I just never wanted braces. Until I wanted braces.
While I had them, I enjoyed them. I liked brushing them and I liked the way they looked in pictures and I liked commiserating with my students who had braces — we started a short-lived Braces Gang in 2012 — and I liked saying things at restaurants like, “Oh, that comes with corn on the cob? I can't get it then. You know, the braces.” But Monday was the day I decided I wanted to get them off (I dodged three appointments before), and IT WAS THE GODDAMN WORST.
It wasn't that there was just a tremendous amount of pain involved. It's just that I'm great big 'ol girl. I've worked hard to ensure that my life contains as small an amount of discomfort as possible. And that's great most of the time, but on those times where everything doesn't go exactly as I'd hoped, I just melt down into a puddle of crybaby. So, in an effort to make the arduous task of having to sit in a comfy chair in an air conditioned office for 30 minutes, I cobbled together a small playlist to help me ease into the abyss.
Song: Ace Hood's “Bugatti”
What They Were Doing: Pulling the brackets off, I suspect. I don't know. It felt like Teresa was trying to yank my teeth out of my head. Teresa can be a real whore sometimes.
Why: I figured that this song, maybe the most PERFECT club song that has ever been, would pump my body full of adrenaline, which would negate any pain I'd have been feeling at the time. Not how it worked. Mostly, it just made me want to bite Teresa's fingers off at the knuckle. Future is fun to listen to so long as nobody has any metal hooks or tools in your mouth. (A semi-related aside: Future has beautiful teeth. Like, I mean, BEAUTIFUL. I still remember the first time I saw them. Total teeth erection.)
Song: Chris Brown's “Fine China”
The Best “Now You're Just Dicking With Us” Moment: When Brown, addressing his femme, spouts, “It's alright. I'm not dangerous.”
What They Were Doing: No idea. My eyes were all the way closed. I know there was a drill involved. Best guess: She was trying to get me to give up some war secrets.
Why: Chris Brown is a total boob. This song though, this song is exceedingly impressive. It's the most natural, most likable Brown anyone seen since debut album Chris Brown's “Run It” and “Gimme That,” back when he danced his way into America's pants in 2005. I played it three times in a row. Teresa was never more enjoyable.
Most Unintentionally Funny Part: At the end of the video, when, as Brown's entourage shows up to dead the Asians, they come spilling into the street with future guns and menace and one guy in the back holds up a skateboard (at the 6:03 part, if you're interested). I'm saying, someone was like, “Yo, Chris is in trouble, get your gun!” Then that guy was like, “Eh, I don't have a gun.” Then the first guy was like, “Well, what do you have?” Then the second guy was like, “Um, I have a stick. Oh, and a basketball. And a skateboard. And roller skates.” Then the first guy was like, “…Fuck it, bring your skateboard. But you better shake the shit out of it, bro.”
Song: Tyga's “Hit 'Em Up”
What They Were Doing: I can't be certain, but I think Teresa was alternating between scraping the remaining bracket pieces from my teeth and skinning a baby for her to feed the rest of her demon hoard. She accidentally dug into a section of my lower gums around this time. I'll never forgive her.
Why: Because I'd not heard it before I loaded it. There is just no good in this song. I wasn't getting a root canal, but I was getting a root canal. Apologies, universe.
Song: Kid Cudi's “Girls”
What They Were Doing: Smashing my genitals with a sledgehammer.
Why: Because Kid Cudi has quietly become a force again.
Best Too Short Line: When he says, “I still fuck the blackest bitch.” God bless you, Too Short.
Song: Tyler's “Jamba”
What They Were Doing: Finishing, because there is a God. Teresa's not that bad.
Why: Because it kind of feels like Wolf, Tyler, the Creator's second album, might be a little great. I'm still not sure. He probably didn't make it with the specific intent of having it serve as the soundtrack for dental work, but, I mean, I listened to his first album while shopping at IKEA and it was just fine, so who knows.