Friday, 14 June 2019

If Only Teething Was An Excuse by Naomi Elana Zener



In the era of articles and videos turning the tables on groups of individuals whose behaviour would otherwise not be accepted if their acts or statements were made by others—if adults behaved like toddlers, if Black people said the things that white people say, dudes greeting dudes as though they were catcalling women—as a parent, I’ve often wondered about what would happen if adults blamed our behaviour on teething. Yes, that’s right, teething: the time-limited, excruciating, sleep-depriving, demonic personality shift inducing, paranormal experience every baby and toddler goes through, when they treat the world and everyone in it like their own personal punching bag and gets away with it. These babies and toddlers don’t hold down jobs, pay bills, interact with society in a meaningful way, maintain interpersonal social relationships with friends, family, or neighbours, yet they get this amazing get-out-jail free card that enables their awful behaviour during a time in their life when they don’t need it. I think the time has come to look at what would happen if adults pulled the teething card out when things just don’t go their way.

Work

The phone ringg three times before anyone answers.

“Hello?” says a man’s voice.

“Hi, Mr. Smith. It’s Shirley,” she advises her voice muffled. “I’m not coming into to work today.”

“Are you ill? Mr. Smith asks.

“I have a runny nose, watery eyes, the runs, and possibly a mild fever. I’m teething. It’s those damn eye teeth breaking through and they’re throwing off my entire system. I just don’t know when I’ll get any relief, but until they’ve broken through, I’m not coming into work.”

“I completely understand,” Mr. Smith advises. “My son just got an F on his Algebra exam. Those fucking two-year old molars just screwed his chances of getting into Harvard. Have you tried Camelia or wearing an amber necklace? We’re hoping it helps our boy. I know how bad teething can be, so take as much time off with pay as you need. Your job will be waiting for you when you get back.”

Parenting

Sally waits impatiently in the kitchen. The stove isn’t on. Coffee isn’t brewing. Lunch isn’t packed.

“Mom, where are you?” Sally screeches. “The bus is gonna be here any minute, and I need to eat.”

Sally gets no reply. She glances at the clock on the stove. 7:52a.m. Her father was already en route to work and her brother was at his early morning volleyball practice. At seven years old, she is too young to scramble her own eggs. Sally storms up the stairs to confront her mother, whom she expects to find in the shower, but is shocked when she spies her lying in bed. Snoring. Drooling.

“Mom, wake up!” Sally shoves her mother, hard. Her mother doesn’t stir. She climbs on the bed, and copies a pile-driving move her brother taught her the night before when they were watching a WWF wrestling program together. This catches her mother’s attention.

“Waahh zaa faa?” her mother wails.

“Mom, you have to wake up and make me breakfast and lunch. I’m gonna be late for school.”

“Make it yourshelf. Leave mommy alone. I’m teeving.”

“You’re what?”

“I’m teeving. I haven’t slept in sheven days. I’m cranky and tired. Go away!”

“Do you mean you broke a tooth?”

“No. I’m getting one. Now, go and make your own damn breakfasht.”

“But, you told me I’m too young to use the stove.”

“Not today you aren’t.”

Sally pauses and thinks about all her mother has done for her over the years. She harkens back to her teething days, recalling the agony she felt when her infant gums swelled with pain.

“I’m sorry mom. I’ll be a good girl and make my own food. Can I get you anything? How about a martini?”


Sex with Spouse

Husband, dressed only in boxers that give his belly a muffin top, turns over to seductively caress Wife’s shoulder, signaling that he’s in the mood for love. He rolls Wife over to see her holding two ice packs to her cheeks.

“Not tonight dear, I’m teething,” Wife advises.

“You’re teething again?” Husband whines. “That’s like the fourth week in a row.”

“Stop whining like a little baby. I’m the one in pain.”

“Well, my dick is in pain from not gettin’ any. So, we’re even.”

“Really? We’re even? Do you have a sharp, bone like object breaking through your bone and piercing your skin?”


Husband flops onto his back.

“You’re right dear, we should wait until your teething period is over. I think you should ice your face. Can I rub your back to help you feel better?”


Blowing Off Plans

Cathy calls her friend, Daniel, wondering why he’s not already at the restaurant for their date. She’s let the phone ring fifteen times. Finally, on the sixteenth ring, he picks up.

“Hello?”

“Daniel, where are you? Please tell me you’re on your way to the here.”

“Sorry. I just can’t make it out tonight. I’m off solids until this tooth comes in. I hope you understand.”

“You’re what?”

“I lost my appetite. I just can’t eat a thing. And, I really don’t want to sit and watch you eat.”

“You could’ve told me that this morning when we spoke.”

“I didn’t feel that badly then. Teething is unpredictable. You should know that. You have a kid.”

“You’re right. I should  know better. I am a single mom after all. Could I come by and bring you a bottle of wine with a straw to help ease your pain?”

“Aw, that’s sweet of you, but I think I’m going to take some liquid Tylenol and go to bed.”

“Ok, well feel better. And, call me when your teeth breaks.”


Stealing a Parking Spot

“Hey asshole! Didn’t you see me sitting there with my right turn signal on?” a man yells out to the driver of the car who just stole his parking spot. “It’s fucking Christmas time and I’ve been circling this mall for an hour looking for a spot.”

“Sorry man, but you snooze you lose,” the other driver advised, as he tips his hat to him walking past the man’s car.

“You better watch yourself or I’m gonna unleash a whole lotta road rage on you.”

The thieving driver charges on foot towards the driver side of the man’s car.

“You don’t want to try me man. I’m teething and there’s no knowing what I’m capable of. You wanna test me, punk?”

The driver retreats from the window.

“Hey, sorry man. I didn’t realize you were cutting a tooth. We’ve all been there. Feel better. I’m sure I’ll find another spot in an hour or two.”

Do you see the magic in being able to castigate a whole host of adult bad behaviour on teething? I think it’s high time that we reclaim this justification from our babes-in-arms for teething problems are not just for toddlers anymore. Who’s with me?



© 2019. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

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