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9:59 PM - Sat 4.29.17
Perfectly Imperfect

Perfectly Imperfect

Well, it took awhile, but I now have new (or at least newly refurbished) teeth, top and bottom.

I had an appointment on Monday at 2:00 pm, but things went a little awry, and nothing much happened beyond a cleaning (I screwed up and came in hours early, then the delivery of the permanent crown, which was supposed to arrive at noon, got delayed - and this was the crown that had already had to be returned once before because it didn't fit. And the cleaning irritated my gums enough that the dentist wanted to hold off on the other work I was dying to have finished).

So I was back on Thursday morning, and this time, all went according to plan - the crown had arrived, it fit, and we were able to address the situation on the bottom row (She also did some "tweaks" on the top - some gum "scaling" and tooth "shaping", to make the two front teeth look more like a matched set, and some composite material to make them a little longer - The last bit happening because I wanted to be able to smile with just my top teeth showing without there being any "negative space" on the bottom).

My recent weeks at the Dentist haven't actively hurt, for the most part (Beyond the needle for the local anesthetic), but it's involved almost-constant discomfort (As I told Mark and Jane later that day, in addition to having my jaw cranked open for hours, all the water they were squirting in my mouth as they worked on me felt like "light waterboarding").

But in between feeling like I was slowly drowning, I was so happy about what was happening I wanted to laugh with delight at a couple points (And it's been awhile since I wanted to "laugh with delight" at something that was happening to me...and if you've been following along in here for awhile, you can probably guess when that was without trying too hard).

So anyway, I was surprised, when the work was done and I was handed a mirror, that my first reaction upon seeing myself was a slight disappointment - It was clearly a huge improvement over what I'd walked in with...but it wasn't perfect.

And I'm fascinated by that.

Because one of the first things I said to the Dentist, when we started talking cosmetic options, was about not wanting to open my mouth and have people think, "Well, he's obviously had a lot of work done..." (Which basically means it shouldn't look totally uniform and perfect. Because, really, what else about me looks "totally uniform and perfect"?

And in between the initial work on the top row (A couple weeks ago), which I was pretty excited about, and the work on Thursday, I'd had all kind of time to think about what I hoped to have when it was all done - Not the jacked-up teeth that have embarrassed me all my life, not a perfect set of teeth that would just look "fake" and embarrass me in a different way, but a set of nice, "normal" teeth that "didn't make me look poor".

That last bit is really important. It's been the centerpiece of every discussion I've had about my teeth lately - "My teeth make me look poor and uncared-for, which embarrasses me and limits me as an actor".

I told Jane recently that a successful outcome in this area would be if someone who didn't know me looked at me and said said, "You're really lucky your teeth are just naturally straight...".

So with all that said, it fascinates me that I looked at my new bottom teeth, and was kinda disappointed that they were't perfect - they looked good, but didn't completely come-together with the top row ( particularly on the right side) - even as I'd already thought about how "perfect" would look downright weird on my otherwise imperfect, asymmetrical face.

In the past couple days, I've been taking a lot of selfies, and looking at myself in the mirror, and smiling this way and that way, and thinking about focusing on "the black spot on the white piece of paper", as my friend Jane Z. likes to say (When everything is just about perfect, but you focus on the one thing that isn't).

And wondering why I would want "perfection", when in this case "perfection" would actually look screwed-up and imperfect (Told a friend that in being tempted to go for "perfect", this was the danger - "Okay, just one more tweak...okay, maybe one more little tweak...okay just one more tiny little tweak, and that's it...Well shit! Now I look ridiculous!").

I look way better than I did, I haven't broken the bank, relatively speaking, and I have already done what I set out to do - My teeth no longer make me look "poor".

They just look...normal.

But maybe just one more...little...tweak...

I go back to the Dentist next Monday, to have things looked at (And to share the bad news that the filling on my back left molar isn't easing the pain I've been feeling at all - If anything, things have gotten worse. Hoping I won't need a root canal.)


Mon 5/1/17 (8:29 am)

Had some new head-shots done yesterday, at the place on Melrose I've gone to before, where they offer two "looks" for $99.

The point was to get some shots of me showing off the new teeth, so I was smiling more than I ever have during a head-shot session.

(I should clarify - I smile a lot whenever I shoot new head-shots...I just don't open my mouth. I'd be surprised if in hundreds, maybe thousands, of head-shot poses over the years, there's more than a dozen of me smiling with my mouth open. And I would do that just in case of a call specifically for "actors with bad teeth". Otherwise, I didn't like "smiling with teeth", because it was embarrassing and didn't help my cause.)

So it felt weird to be giving Peter (the Photographer) a bunch of toothy grins...but fun (And not just "toothy grins", but calibrating, from shot to shot, just how much teeth to show).

It was also weird - as I've already noted on Facebook - that when I switched from the red shirt I'd worn to work, to a white shirt, suit, and tie, it felt even stranger to be smiling broadly (Apparently, people who wear suits don't smile, or at least they're not supposed to).

It was surprising that I had that in my head ("People who wear suits have to be serious and not smile"), but when I thought about it afterward, it kind of makes sense - I've never had to wear suits on a regular basis (I don't currently even own an actual suit), so it's understandable that when I'm wearing one, it feels like a costume, and thus like I'm "playing the role" of "serious adult-type person".

(But I don't want to oversell how "weird" it was - I had a moment or two where it felt odd, then I got past it.)

Anyway, that was a thing that happened.

In other news, I got word about Shameless (Not Kermit-specific word, but interesting stuff nevertheless) - Mike M. met someone connected to the show on a set he was working on recently, and was told shooting will start June 1st, and a half-dozen episodes have already been written.

It was nice to get a specific date for things starting back up (To know when I have to shave and all that), but more important to hear that half the season's episodes have been written already - With a writers' strike looming (And from what I hear, looking likely), I was afraid the start of shooting could be delayed indefinitely.

(And until and unless I find out otherwise, I'm going with the assumption that the status quo will be restored, and that Kermit will ride again.)

We actually shot a resolution to the "Fight over the Alibi" plot-line that wasn't used, I don't know why - Maybe because they wanted the last episode of the season to focus solely on the Gallaghers, maybe because they re-thought said resolution (Which meant the exit of a character a lot of fans like), who knows? - but it struck me that they could conceivably just use that stuff this season (Which would be something new for me - I don't think I've ever shot anything for TV or commercials that sat on the shelf for a year before airing).

So, going with the assumption that me and my character are still part of the show, it will be interesting to see how that plays out (In at least the last couple seasons, I've been in the first episode, which is a trend I hope will continue).

(What else is going on...?)

My birthday is in two weeks.

I hadn't come up with much in terms of concrete plans - I thought treating myself to something fun on Amazon would be nice (I currently have $150 worth of gift cards to work with), I thought pizza and pie might figure in somewhere, and have considered a celebratory alcoholic beverage (Which I enjoyed on New Year's Eve) - but I decided to give "asking a few friends to lunch" a shot (I did that some years back, with very disappointing results, but it seemed like an idea worth reviving).

I've asked my friends Josh, Tim, Mike, and Cary, and so far, three of the four have committed (Though since four of the five of us are actors, I have to contend with the possibility of losing someone to an audition. Or with the whole thing not happening because I have an audition - Which is seeming really unlikely these days, but "Murphy's Law" and all that).

I'm excited...and a little nervous - It's a somewhat disparate group of people, and I haven't tried to gather a group of varied friends together in a very long time (Though we all have "The Biz" in common, to one extent or another). But the reasons I consider all of them friends is because they're good people, and it's fun to be with them, so it feels safe to assume we'll find each other entertaining as a group.

And I think that's as happy a note to go out on as I'm gonna manage...


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