Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And Always Remember to Floss

Remember "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), that "song" released by Baz Lurhmann a few years ago? It was allegedly a speech given to MIT students by Kurt Vonnegut but was also strangely similar in nature to the "message from the Dalai Lama" chain email going around a while back. They both had some very good advice, but let me reinforce the importance of 1) always using sunscreen and 2) remembering to floss.

When I was a young thing, I didn't care. I let myself get as dark as I could possibly get every summer. Sunscreen was something that we Asians didn't have to worry about, I thought. And flossing? Who had time to floss every day? All I had time for was a good brushing after meals and a rinse with a mouthwash. But I wasn't thinking about how long I was going to live, either. Heck, it wasn't very cool to live too long, anyway. Better to burn out than to fade away, right?

Well, today, I think it's Very Cool to live forever (or as close to it as humanly possible.) It's proof that you were doing something right. It gives you all sorts of second chances, including the chance to get "life" right. Needing to learn and grow doesn't change just because you reach a certain age!

Now that I am focusing on living for more than a century, I am kicking myself for not taking care of my body when I was much younger. Until we can get replacement parts for what wears out, we'd better take good care of what we've got. I am generally pretty fit, but I wish I hadn't abused my skin with all that direct sun. As for the teeth, I have been going for my check-ups quite religiously since I discovered Lady Dentists!

I detested my last male dentist. He had huge hands that were as rough as a longshoreman's. Plus, he was rough with his rough hands, forcing my mouth open far wider than was comfortable, complaining that I wasn't opening wide enough and then drilling and poking and doing whatever dentists do, except it was like there was road construction going on in there. After the root canal job was over, I never went back. That was when I went online and found a nice lady dentist in Tokyo and what a world of difference! I would actually fall asleep while the hygienists cleaned my teeth, they were so gentle.

Here in California, I also have a lady dentist (and a friend who is a hygienist who works for her.) I got to spend my birthday afternoon in their aquatic-themed office (think stuffed fish and other marine animals hanging from the ceiling) getting my teeth cleaned, being told that my teeth were fine and getting a goody bag of dental hygiene products. Okay, so it wasn't an all-day spa treatment, but it was probably even better for me and my goal of one day being the Oldest Person Alive.

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