Skip to content

Teeth as a measure of socioeconomic status


We attended a lovely birthday party for our baby grand-nephew. We were the only family from our nephew’s side, plus a few of his friends. The rest were family from our niece-in-law’s side. It was a big picnic in a public park by the ocean. Three or four of her relatives spent the night in the park, car-camping with their fishing poles to stake their claim on the picnic spot. You can’t “camp” in the park, but you can fish all night. So they “fished,” and the police left them alone. They actually caught some fish, but they let them go because they were too small.

It was a large gathering, perhaps fifty people. Among the adults, we noticed that we were the only ones who still had most of their teeth. In fact, between the two of us, we probably had more teeth than the rest of the adults put together.

Teeth set us apart from the crowd. Teeth, and our utter lack of appropriate clothing (camouflage, Harley Davidson gear, or NASCAR t-shirts, which seemed popular among the older set). We were distinctly overdressed. The kids alternated between fishing and playing horseshoes. The adults mostly stood around the grill and smoked and drank beer. We drifted around and interacted as much as we could. We had never thought of ourselves as wealthy, but that day we realized that we are. We have been very fortunate, in so many ways.

Despite the fact that we didn’t fit in at all, everyone was very nice to us. I don’t know that we’ll ever see them more than once a year, but they were still very nice. We had some pleasant conversations.

Just as we were about to cut the birthday cake, the party abruptly ended when the skies opened up, dumping about two inches of rain in half an hour. The park was awash, and all of us were soaked. Most of the family disappeared into the rain, but some (including us) stayed behind to pack up. Our appreciative niece-in-law invited us back to their house to eat some more picnic food and to share the cake. We wound up staying another three hours at their house, which basically meant we spent the whole day with them. No one else got invited back to their house except a houseguest of theirs, which was flattering to us.

Houseguest commented on the gathering. “Are you the only normal one in your family?” she asked niece-in-law. “Pretty much,” was the reply.   

We got to watch grand-nephew open his gifts and play with the birthday cake. Then they put him in the tub, hosed the cake icing off of him, and put him to bed.

It was a lovely day with our family, and we realized how much they appreciate us, even if we’re so different from the rest of their family. Or perhaps because we’re so different.

  1. 2012-04-28T08:32:06-04:00 08:32

    If the level of wealth is measured by the number of teeth, hubby and I are the richest in all of North Carolina.


  2. 2012-04-25T00:48:32-04:00 00:48

    I must admit: This is not the tone I was expecting from the title of the post. You could have gone a whole different direction with this, but I’m glad you did what you did.


  3. 2012-04-24T18:03:30-04:00 18:03

    That sounds like a lovely day. I’m sure they appreciate you very much.


  4. amlr permalink
    2012-04-23T19:25:34-04:00 19:25

    Marvin, that is nice post.
    Anna :))


  5. amlr permalink
    2012-04-23T19:25:01-04:00 19:25

    Marvin, that nice post.
    Anna :)


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: