Saturday, July 01, 2006

I was not joking about the teeth thing.

It's probably the least of my troubles right now, but it's something I'm reminded of every time I eat anything. Two of my bottom molars have essentially rotted away in my mouth, due to general neglect. The third tooth that's missing is all the way in the back. I used to have a crown on it, but that popped out around Christmas a couple of years ago while I was eating a piece of particularly chewy candy. I never bothered replacing it, because it was too expensive to do without proper medical insurance.

What's any of this got to do with being a compulsive gambler? Two things, as near as I can figure:

(1) First is, quite simply. that gambling to an unhealthy extend either causes or correlates to a general lack of interest in self-love, hygiene, and the like. It's not merely that gambling becomes the center of your universe, although that's undoubtedly true. It's that there is a certain ethos associated with the life of a gambler that doesn't recognize the value of taking small, imperceptible steps to take care of yourself. Like brushing your teeth. Washing behind your ears. Exercising. The only meaningful indicator of your health, of your self-worth, is whatever your account balance happens to be.

(2) Only a dentist would know that I've got these massive dental problems. I don't look at all like the cracked-out, snaggletoothed bums that you might see on the street. Similarly, I walked around the halls of my law school, ate lunch with friends, visited my folks for Thanksgiving -- and my gambling addiction was invisible to them all.


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