Every time I go to the dentist my view of the nature/nurture debate skews heavily to the nature side. So far I am clearly the beneficiary of inherited good teeth. To people who brush and floss seven times a day only to have to visit dentists every month for intrusive surgeries I can only say "I am sorry." It would be generous to say that my dental hygiene is barely acceptable, but I waltz into the dentists office (well, it's not waltzing exactly so much as it's dread-tinged walking) and I am immediately showered with compliments. "You have great teeth." "Doesn't he have great teeth?" and "Don't forget to floss. But look who I'm telling to floss! I surely don't need to tell the god of teeth to floss! Ha ha ha."
Well maybe not that last one so much, but it's not as completely outrageous as it might seem.
My occasionally pessimistic nature makes me feel like this toothy paradise could come crashing down at any moment, but the fact remains that, despite my trepidation, I do not get much bad news in Dentist offices. I have good teeth, by nature.
Although, come to think of it, it's not like my relatives have been any great shakes in the teeth department. My ancestors have had braces and root canals and cavities the likes of which I have barely experienced a glimmer of. So, it's beyond nature, which really here is intended to mean genetics. We are all the way into luck here.
I don't have a great deal of experience at overwhelmingly excelling at things. Sure, I write the greatest blog on the Internet, but it's not the sort of greatest blog on the Internet that other people are constantly thinking is the greatest blog on the Internet. It's more the kind of greatest blog on the Internet that I like to tell you is the greatest blog on the Internet. I was not the fastest runner in school, any school, ever, nor the best athlete in any sport. People have never fawned over my beauty except, possibly, a little when I was about four and exceptionally cute. I don't think I was breakout cute though. In all the various endeavors where I applied myself to making a fortune it never led to my being a multimillionaire. My art career never inspired passion. At least, not in very many others. Indeed, I have never met with what I would describe as an electric reaction in any field. I'm not saying that I have met with no success in life, just, I have never demolished the curve in anything.
Except, apparently, teeth.
And I believe this experience has given me some insights.
Would you like to hear them?
When dental personnel speak so highly of my teeth I feel a little funny. I feel like I am getting credit for something I did not much have any part in. I didn't make my teeth so great! And yet, at the same time, I sometimes find myself secretly giving myself credit for tiny peculiar habits of dental hygiene that I do have, some method of tooth picking or brushing or whatever. Some part of me does not want to pass up this tooth bounty. Some part of me strives for credit.
But in the end I find I have to go with the humble choice. My teeth are mostly just a nicely dealt hand. And one doesn't need to be a great poker player to win a hand with four Kings. Now, I'm not saying to you, Mr. Multimillionaire, that you didn't work and augment and nurture your inherent luck and perfectly suited money making talents, and I'm not saying that you, Handsome Johnny, didn't choose the right haircut and go jogging and dress wisely, and I'm not saying that you, Bob Dylan (who regularly reads this blog, so, hi Bob!), didn't play long hours and find good places to write from and didn't help the magic happen. No, I'm not saying that at all. But I am saying this: I work with people who help at a service desk, who answer phones, who shelve. Indeed, some of them work hard enough, harder than me even. And that work produces something perfectly nice. It is, believe it or not, roughly the same amount of work as Mr. Multimillionaire and Handsome Johnny and Bob Dylan and the greatest blogger on the Internet. It's just work. And all adulation and millions, all fandom, and praise of teeth is a kind of a freakshow.
And we are all, magical or not, every last goddamn one of us, innocent of greatness.