#23 – The Eye Tooth – Van Brown

Thinking it was the right thing to do, I once hired out to a large firm.  It seemed they had magical powers.  The company would help me become significant, and worthy.  Additionally, they would shield me from all decay, and from all demons that might prevent my significance and worthiness, thus keep me safe.

So in exchange for a small wage, I was harnessed to laborious tasks where my life force would fuel their engines.  The marginal utility was that I got a share of the profits as long as I allowed the company to reinvest it for me.  By imposing penalties, I was discouraged from extracting any benefit of those profits.  It’s a good thing that I never needed them, as they turned out to be worthless.

Every day, I was given assignments, each of which were less fun than having a root canal.  I was required to sign forms where I promised to not bite my employer, so they let me keep my teeth.  At times, I thought about biting, but did not want to risk breaking a tooth in the process.  I must have valued my teeth.

I thought about being a child, and how much the tooth fairy idea helped get over the trauma of losing a chomper.   I particularly remembered getting a nickel once and told the boy next door about my new found wealth.  He showed no signs of being impressed and said the tooth fairy always left him a quarter.

I pondered the prospects of this and came to the conclusion that the market value of a tooth varied from house to house.  The next day at school, some casual conversations with other entrepreneurs in the ivory trade confirmed it.  Some got dimes, some quarters, and one girl said she got a silver dollar.

I studied that girl for a while, and noted no particular manner of conduct that would make her a better person than some of the other children who got nickels and dimes.  As a matter of fact, I was surprised she got more than a penny.

I also studied how I might make some progress with this tooth fairy business.  Since I knew I couldn’t change the circumstance of where I lived, I  decided to take my next tooth over to the boy next door.  I explained what I had in mind, and we worked out an agreement to split the profits.

Evidently, there is a rule that the tooth has to be under the pillow of the person who lost it, and not to be passed around for just anybody to use.  Somehow, the tooth fairy caught us at our scam and the rest of our teeth were removed from the commodities market by the Securities Exchange Commission of Elves, Pixies, and Fairies.  Turns out that the elves and fairies were imaginary, as were the hobgoblins my employer was protecting me from.

Since I was never allowed to sell the rest of my teeth, I kept them.  I began to see some things that before were hidden from my eyes.  Perhaps my eye tooth was doing the looking.  In that leadership role, it guided all the other teeth to chew through the bindings that tethered me in servitude.

Freedom turned out to be more valuable than the wage and worth a whole lot more than any disbursement the tooth fairy would have been able to make.  I would do it again, even if I had to break every tooth in my head to cut myself loose.

~ Van Brown, Atlanta, Georgia

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