My Fake Teeth

24 09 2009

When I was in 3rd grade, around the time the other kids were sporting jack-o-lantern smiles, I was informed that I did not have all of my adult teeth. In fact, I was missing four. This was really no big deal at the time, because everyone my age was missing one here or there. I also proudly repped a lovely gap between my two front teeth, which I could shove a straw in – which was cool.

The dentist told me that he had to pull those baby teeth – the incisors  –  so that he could straighten my smile and put me in braces for 8 years. I vaguely remember this. More than anything I remember these bright neon  t-shirts that had a dinosaur with braces on them. All the patients got one, and so my sister, who was enjoying her full-braced, frizzy hair 80’s adolescence at the time, and I wore them, of course on different days. When I received my full mouth of braces, I changed the colors seasonally and got these cute little fake teeth put in the place of the holes that would never come in. They just kind of  hung on those braces, like a bite from an apple. Since I was lucky enough to wear braces from 3rd grade to 10th grade, I didn’t even notice. But of course, all good things must come to an end, and the day I got those bad boys off I understood that I truly did have two holes in my smile. I cried when I got my braces off. At this point, it was no longer acceptable to be missing teeth – I was in high school for gods sake. The orthodontist tried to ease my sadness with a retainer that I could flip out of my mouth, holding on to two little kernels of corn.

That’s when Dr. Hoedt came along. A basketball friend’s dentist dad somehow got wind of my situation and offered to make me temporary bridges – something a little more permanent than a flipper retainer and would fill the gaps until I could get adult implants. Thus he installed the bridges prefacing it by saying that they were only meant to last a year or two. They were attached to each neighboring tooth and looked relatively real, (at least that’s what all you nice folks said). Eight years later, they finally started to fall apart, as if telling me it was time to get serious and grow up.

They call my condition ‘congenitally missing teeth’ (CMT) aka I got the short end of the oral gene stick in my family. But now, as an adult, I’ve come to have an affinity for my congenitally missing teeth. They are my quirk; my weird thing that you would never know about me unless you too had congenitally missing teeth, in which case you would know what to look for in others’ dental composition.

Monday, I finally had my temporary/permanent bridges removed and Tuesday, I had my dental implants installed. It’s not a very short description when trying to explain A. why I look like a chipmunk, B. why I retainernow have an Invisalign retainer with two pieces of wax posing as teeth for the next six months while the implants heal (ahh how technology has evolved) and C. that no, my implants are in my mouth.

History of Dental Implants: I’m pretty sure the guy on the Clear Choice billboard that hovers over Broadway and 5th (Denver) sums it up:

This is seriously on a billboard on 5th and Broadway.

This is seriously on a billboard for ClearChoice.

It’s also become a running joke in the office, too. I had this put on my desk the other day.

Thanks Tasha!

Thanks Tasha!

This sign was hanging out in the warehouse were we get our signage done – my friend took a pic and printed it for me. Always on my mind, she says.

It’s also been referenced in meetings – I was comparing a short term, piecemeal solution to a long term, off-the-shelf, ever customizable solution for e-marketing. I said, it’s like bridges are to implants. Bridges may be quick to get and look great for 15-20 years, but your definitely going to have to get them redone, where implants last forever – in fact, they’ll out last me.

Bridges are to Implants, as Exact Target is to Eloqua:
As I’ve been working on my business, trying to define what Claire Blue Ideas is and what it’s all about, I keep hitting the same wall. By trying to brand my sole proprietorship, I am essentially trying to brand myself. Am I a digital marketer or a writer? What do I want potential clients to know about me and my capabilities? Do I market my personality or my portfolio? Can I do both separately or together? What about my interest in writing outdoor adventure editorials? How does that fit into the mix. And this blog, The Weekend Warrior – well, originally it was just supposed to be about adventure sports. But my job as a marketing consultant is such a big part of my everyday life, how could I possibly exclude it from my blog?  So then, should I have three separate blogs? One on adventure sports, one portfolio and one about digital marketing? Finally, how do you define the umbrella in which Claire fits under?

Going through a branding exercise for me and my business has been bogging me down, and even depressing me a bit. I am like a disjointedness pie chart – there are too many pieces and I don’t know which is my X or Y axis. And to be perfectly honest, my audience is really just the people that know me. My loyal readers. You guys. And you guys read my blog for probably no other reason than because I pester you with Facebook updates and emails. Yet you email me, respond and comment and tell me something was funny or confusing or misspelled. And you do it almost every single time I write. And I think, wow, maybe it doesn’t matter that the name of this blog is almost completely irrelevant to its content. Maybe it should just be my name, because truly, my readers are really just my friends of past and present, co-workers and colleagues, family and the occasional Google searcher who randomly typed a keyword that I randomly matched my metadata.

So doesn’t it make sense that my brand be something that is wholly me? Something that has been with me from the beginning? The one thing that has been an ongoing source of humor, contention and wierd stories from the start? My brand is really just the foundation of who I am – a congenitally toothless girl.

The implant surgery that I had on Tuesday signifies an end of an era. My removeable teeth will soon be a thing of the past; I’ll completely forget about all of the retainers and braces and off-colored porcelain and denture picks and threaded dental floss. In six months, I’ll be able to floss straight up and down for the first time ever. But even though those implants will look and feel real and will last forever — we will all know that they are still just my fake teeth.

If Demi Moore can do it, so can I! I'll just spare you the photo!

Thanks Demi, for liberating all the CMT's out there to take out their retainers and smile! http://smartsexyrichcrazy.com/tag/demi-moore-fake-teeth/





Let’s Stop Perpetuating this Culture of Gluttony

15 07 2009

I went out with the girls the other night and towards the end what seemed like a speed dating extravaganza, it became very apparent to all of us. All anyone cared about asking was what we did for a living. Not what do you do in your spare time? What kind of music do you listen to? What are you reading? How do you guys know each other? Nothing that might actually peer into the essence of who we were as individuals. It was as if our professions were the end-all measurement of our being. Yikes.

Get off your ass!

Pretty lady sitting on a diet.

It made me think about when I lived in Europe, with my senora, Concha. She woke up and went to work every morning and got home at about 2pm (in time for siesta), then went out with her friends and family, drank wine, socialized, shopped for the rest of her glorious day. Always back in time to make us dinner at 10 pm. I lived in her house for 6 months and never knew what exactly she did. Her life was defined by a totally different description. It didn’t matter how big her home was, or how much money she made. When I asked her once about her job, she just smiled and said she made money working for the government. She was the happiest woman I had ever met.

My dad (Mr. Corporate America) used to say that Europeans were lazy. No one ever works! And that, in a sense, is probably true. But maybe that’s just it. Maybe they got it right. We Americans are bred to believe that the only thing that defines us is our job. You are a lawyer. You are a Doctor. It’s not you are an outgoing athletic girl, who does marketing to make ends meet. We are bred to define every aspect of ourselves by how much shit we have.  How big our houses are. How big our wedding rings are. And we are bred to be divorced, obese and chronically unhappy.

Today, we Americans pay at least 45% of our earnings away in taxes when you include sales tax, social security (which we’ll never see), income, etc. etc. We are working to support a system that supports everyone else. In socialist countries, like Spain, they are at least up front about it. But in Spain, people also get a mandatory month off in August. Six hour work days. A country-wide nap time. They never bring their work home with them. In fact, they never even talk about work. They are defined by their family name, not their profession.

But I couldn’t live in Spain. And I’m also not a socialist. I certainly don’t want to support lazy bottom feeders, people that refuse to take care of themselves, people who have 18 kids on welfare, and I don’t want to continue to support everyone’s unwillingness to change. I’m an American and I want to support myself.

It isn’t just the workforce that this culture of excess seeps into, either. It’s in every aspect of your lives. Marriage: people do everything they do in the dating world to eventually get married (and support the commercial wedding industry). And society feeds off of it. Once you’re married, you get a tax break and shared health care benefits, not to mention all the crap you get from your wedding. If you never get married or have kids, you get nothing but the label of sad and single. Self employment: so you work to break the mold and work for yourself. Welcome to insanely poor health care benefits unless you pay $300 a month, 15% in Social Security taxes, zero tax breaks, audit city, no paid vacation, and near impossibility to save a dime.  Vacation: so you do work a steady job and you get a finite number of vacation days. You are forced to take them by a certain time or all that hard earned time off goes to the waste side. But it looks bad if you take those days at too much consistency or all at once. So are you truly encouraged to take time off or is it just another ploy to keep you working far over what you’re paid?

Retirement. That is the American dream. And it’s not because of all the shit you can buy. It’s because deep down, everyone’s ultimate goal is to not work. Even if you happily conform to the system for your entire life, you are only doing it to finally be able to have your time to yourself. And then you have the media saying over and over; Life is short. If life is so short, why do you have to spend 40 working years to obtain your dream? It seems like such a waste of your good time. We should retire first and then work when we’re old.

In this economy, change and restructuring are the two hottest things on the market. But are we really changing or just looking for new ways to facilitate our old habits? What if we truly did change, and found new ways to live comfortably without excess? Balance work and life. Stop conforming to what everyone else wants. Stop getting married so fricking young and buying ridiculous rings you can’t afford? Stop buying crap you don’t need and start going on more vacations. Right now we’re on a country-wide diet. But the key to any diet is sustainability.





They Call Me the Professor

24 06 2009

A friend just recently graduated from CU Boulder and asked me for some gems of wisdom about getting a job. It was interesting that she asked me, seeing as I’ve never really had a job. I mean, I have a job, but it’s not a job job, where I have a boss and paid vacation and benefits and a 401K and such.

I am, however, a master interviewer. I have probably been to 20 professional interviews in my short stint as a working professional. Not to brag or anything, but I’ve been offered every single one of those jobs. (This is me pretentiously brushing my shoulder and mouthing “No big deal”). I think that track record is pretty good, so yes, I’ll call myself a master interviewer. I’ve also written a published article about it, only adding to my masterfulness (which is a word).

The interview is the easy part, it’s getting your “foot in the door” that’s hard. If I’ve been to 20 interviews, I’ve sent 1,000 cover letters. I’ve written 500 iterations of my resume. I’ve worked with two placement companies, and I’ve had 20 jobs. And these aren’t full time jobs; these are freelance gigs, internships, and contract positions. I’ve actually only had one “real” job, and that only lasted for six months. Can’t cage a jackolope, I guess.

The thing is, I just don’t want to be tied to anything (*cough*commitment issues*cough*), and I’m not all that sure what I could do all the time. I can’t be a copywriter because I’d poke my eyes out with pencils every time some life-sucking editor changed my clever title “Holy Craps!” to “Playing Craps in Vegas.” I couldn’t work in advertising because they work waaaay to hard. I like this marketing business, but who knows how long that will last before I do something stupid and lose all of my clients. So here I am, wondering what advice I could possibly give this poor friend of mine, who so innocently looks up to me thinking that I’ve got it made.

I studied Journalism in college, where I was taught to only be partially honest. I wrote a couple Op-Eds that weren’t well received, except by (consequently) my all-time favorite professor, Kirby Moss. He loved them because of their honesty and spent three years convincing me that the world would love them, too. Do what you want to do all the time, and the money will take care of itself. That’s what he told me when he tried to talk me out of film school (one interview I never got). Just be a writer and don’t fall into the bullshit. Don’t be a screenwriter; your vision will just get stomped on. But Kirby, you have to make money somehow! He was awesome.

I see myself falling further and further away from the vision everyday I think of starting my own interactive agency, or becoming a professor, or starting a web start-up or moving to Aspen and becoming a fly-fishing guide. That’s not the path, I can hear him say. Just be a writer.

So to my friend, and anyone else with visions of being, I say this to you: The money doesn’t just come, the interviews don’t just happen, the cover letters don’t write themselves, and the jobs are never perfect. Life is the only thing you can really count on, so if you focus on that you might fail, but you’ll never be unhappy. Just be what you want to be and be damn good at it; and make sure you have way too much fun in the meantime.