Friday, April 2, 2010




: having no pity : merciless, cruel

RUTHLESSNESS implies a lack of empathy, the word RUTH itself translating to pity, compassion, sorrow, grief, etc. This leads me to believe that RUTHLESS doesn't necessarily imply malicious intent.

Here's where I'm going with this:

So, I have this baby tooth that never came out—a stubborn, immature bone wedged into my gums. If I stick my finger in the corner of my lips and pull my smile toward my ear, I can see the pathetic tooth hidden in between two adults that have conveniently grown around it like weeds about a neglected grave marker. Dentists have been telling me for years that I need to get it pulled.

It'll only cause you trouble in the future, they all said.

The future is a very indefinite place when it comes to dentistry. Sure, the tooth may start bothering me, or I may die first. And this is not at all about my apprehensiveness at getting teeth pulled—I had my wisdoms all taken out at the same time. It's about the money. When it comes to dental work, I stick with my mother's tried and true ideology: We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

And here I am, at the bridge.

Last year my dentist, a suave and intimidatingly knowledgeable Dr. Lillian Harewood, informed me there is a cavity on the baby tooth. She told me there is no way to fill the cavity since the permanent teeth have grown around the primary tooth, physically denying access to the area in question (not that there is any point filling a cavity on a tooth that's fated for extraction). She reminded me that the baby is going to have to come out. I was thinking, wouldn't it be really convenient if the cavity just ate the tooth away, and I wouldn't have to worry about any of this? Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

Last week when I was flossing (which I actually do every night) I hit a sensitive spot aside the baby, sending a sharp pain through my jaw. Great. I waited for the pain to subside, but days later it persisted, not as sharp as the original infliction, but dull, ominous. I'm not thrilled at having to dip into my rapidly depleting savings account to remove a tooth that should have fallen out by its own accord twenty years ago.

Yesterday I called Dr. Harewood, finally giving in to the prospect of removing the useless space holder, only to find out that she is on vacation for the next 10 days.

So, here's my question. Can I call the tooth RUTHLESS? Being an inanimate object, it naturally lacks compassion and pity, mercilessly causing me discomfort and inconvenience. This works right? The tooth is RUTHLESS. It is not malicious, it does not have it out for me, it is simply RUTHLESS.

Not to be confused with ROOTLESS, which would be a terrible pun.

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