I had braces as a kid, and it was a nightmarish two years. Me and my orthodontist, a mustachioed man named Rodney Bloom, were mortal enemies. He hated me more than I hated him. Bloom took off my braces early just so he wouldn't ever have to see me again.
Several years ago, I noticed I had a molar that was out of whack. It doesn't look bad on the outside, but on the inside it occasionally cuts into my tongue. (How it can only bother me periodically and not all the time is a mystery.)
Last year, I asked my dentist about fixing it, and he said it wouldn't be worth it; Inivisalign would run me over four grand.
But then I got my current job. Where I've not only got medical, dental and vision — I've got a small amount of orthodontic insurance too. Blue Shield will pay 50% (up to $2000) of any orthodontic procedure. $4000 to fix that one tooth wasn't worth it... but $1000 is.
I decided I'd try to find an orthodontist who bought a big new house about two years ago with a sub-prime mortgage... who also has a gambling problem. I'd say to him: "I've got a thousand in cash and a thousand in insurance — if you can fix my tooth for that, we've got a deal."
Though she doesn't have a gambling addiction, I found an orthodontist who agreed to do it, but there was a catch. It bothered her that none of my back teeth don't meet properly. For the two thou, she'd fix the tooth that bothered me... and the teeth that bothered her. Great — I've got an orthodontist with OCD.
So decades after Bloom signed his unconditional surrender and tore the braces off my teeth, the metal's back on. The good news is that they're mostly out of sight (as they're on my back teeth), but the bad news is I've got rubber bands to deal with.
And as if it's not emasculating
enough to be in braces again,
here's the bag that the rubber
bands come in.
When I was a little boy in New Jersey, I sang on some TV commercial jingles. How I got into that line of work is a long story for another day (it involves my sister wanting to go to Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center and my parents concluding that "if we send the boy to Stagedoor too, then we can go to Mexico!"
Anyway, the first jingle I ever sang was for a bath toy called Rub-A-Dub Doggie. It was a semi-local ad (playing only in the tri-state region) and the lyrics went like this:
Soft little doggie
Likes to take a bath with you.
Taking a bath can be lots of fun
'Cause two in the bathtub
Is more fun than one!
Soft pretty doggie...
and then the tagline: "Rub-A-Dub Doggie is water-tight, soap-proof and comes complete with a sponge bone... from Ideal!"
Three kids (including me) sang the jingle; I was the only boy. I can't remember the name of one of the girls, but the other was Lauren Echo. Lauren and I would go on to sing other jingles together including a remake of the famous "Munch-a-bunch-a-Frito's go with lunch!" ad.
Puberty put an end to my singing career, but Lauren's still at it. According to her website, she's a singer-songwriter in New York who appears to be a younger, prettier and (presumably) straighter Melissa Etheridge.
Not too long after the Rub-A-Dub Doggie ad aired, the folks at the company that manufactured it, the Ideal Toy Company, decided to take the commercial National. But they determined that the jingle would have to be re-recorded because apparently there were some "problems" with the lyrics.
The first issue was the line "Likes to take a bath with you." I guess the executives at Ideal felt the notion that the dog "liked" to bathe with you was fraught with disturbing sexual implications. Their fix was to say that Rub-A-Dub Doggie "can take a bath with you." But this left them with a syllable/pronoun issue. Should they go with "She can take a bath with you" or "He can take a bath with you"? They chose to use the terribly unadorbale pronoun "it."
The other problem lyric was "'Cause two in the bathtub is more fun than one!" The sexually dysfunctional executives at Ideal simply could not let that filth stand. So the new line was given to us to sing: "'Cause two in the bathtub is as much fun as one."
Even though I was only 11 years old, I distinctly remember that this lyric change struck me as incredibly stupid. "If two in the bathtub is as much fun as one," I asked my mother, "Then why would anyone buy the doll?"
The executives had literally and figuratively neutered the charm of the original jingle.
Revenues from that commercial (which is, of course, on YouTube) helped keep me afloat during my early salad days as a TV writer. But I got something more valuable than money from the Rub-A-Dub-Doggie Ad Goes National experience — I received a lesson called Executives Give Dumb Notes. Unfortunately, it would turn out to be the first in a long list of superfluous, inane and asinine notes from executives that I would witness for the rest of my career in the entertainment industry.