Chew On This

Published May 3, 2014 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

If you heard a loud crack this morning while enjoying your Cream of Wheatie Puffs – don’t worry – it’s not you – it’s me – and my TMJ. Yes, the one thing I didn’t have – I now have – and I don’t know how I got it. I’m quite sure I didn’t contract it the normal way, by grinding my teeth down to nubs at night while I sleep, because I don’t sleep. No, I think my jaw has been out carousing with other jaws that have this terrible affliction and it brought the dreaded disease home to me. Whore.
It started out innocently enough, a yawn, a large piece of fruit, a good laugh and CRACK – my jaw bone would pop by my ear – the bone visibly moving. Now I can’t even put on lipstick without it sounding like a day at the ballgame – or a shootout in Compton. I need headphones to turn down the noise level but that level is in my head and there’s no turning down that sound cause god knows I’ve tried for years and I have the liquor bill to prove it.
So off I went to the dentist or as I like to call him – The Butcher of Brentwood. It’s not that he’s a bad dentist – he’s actually a great dentist – it just annoys the hell out of him when I compare him to a death camp captain and lets face it – if you shove your hands in peoples mouth everyday and drill things until they scream in pain – you pretty much have a dark side. Does anyone really believe cops do what they do because they want to serve and protect? Come on now. If my job came with a gun and the ability to shoot people who do dumb things – no one would be alive.
I thought my dentist would tell me that it was my Invisalign causing the pop heard round the world but apparently my TMJ stands for Too Much Gum. (Its early and I don’t know a J word for this,) He said that is in fact exacerbating the problem. I told him I was never giving up the gum. I’ve given up alcohol and food but this is the final straw – this is too much to ask. He told me that gum also produces acid in the stomach and causes bloat which can lead to weight problems. Bingo! Gum – done. So I stood there at the counter like an addict and handed over all my gum. It took a full ten minutes. Out came the packs of Strike Spearmint – the only gum I chew – one by one. When I was done – there were at least 20 packs in front of me and the entire dental team was stupefied. They should see my shoe closet.
It’s been four days now and I think this is going to be harder to give up then booze. Gum is such an integral part of my life and I didn’t even realize it. Everything I do is attached to gum. Work out – chew a piece of Stride. Go for a dog walk – chew a piece of Stride. Finish a meal – have a piece of Stride. I chew gum in the writers room, the shower, my bed (I’ve swallowed about three hundred pieces) just about anywhere I can chew it – I do it. I’m trying really hard not to give in and to tell the truth I’m definitely not taking this particular life blow in Stride and I’m hoping there is some kind of gum support group I can join. Once again I am stuck looking one of life’s most difficult questions in the eye and I don’t have an answer. WHY IS EVERYTHING I LOVE BAD FOR ME? Chew on that people.

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