I bit myself today. I went from chewing on a roast beef sandwich to needing ten stitches on the inside of my cheek. I’m sure I looked like Lee Harvey Oswald did when Jack Ruby shot him. I ran to the bathroom to inspect the damage and stood there for a few minutes with my mouth hanging open, nose pressed against the mirror, blood oozing between my teeth. Nice one.
Biting of the lips and inner cheeks runs in my family, coming from my father’s side. My dad is constantly biting himself during meals or conversation and can go from a pleasant looking man without a care in the world to appearing as if he’s swallowed his tongue. The five of us kids would sit around the table when we were young, quietly eating our dinner and listening to our parents visit, when suddenly my dad’s face would convulse and blood would appear in the corner of his mouth. We’d stare at him until he collected himself, maybe thirty seconds, then everything would go back to normal.
All five of us kids are prone to this biting, but my oldest sister feels especially afflicted because there wasn’t fluoride in the water when she was growing up, so her teeth are weak and tiny. Every time she bites herself, a tooth falls out. Soon she’ll need dentures. Now that we’re all older, none of us are as stoic about the situation as we used to be. At any given family gathering one of us will drive our teeth through our tongue or cheek and sit there howling with a contorted face while the others react: “Whaddja do!?”
“Ah bit mah self!”
My dad just raises his eyebrows and smirks at these outbursts, blood gathering in the corner of his lips. What a bunch of babies.