Meatwatch: TEETH

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Look, we know what you’re thinking: This is by far one of our worst pun-based ideas. But Greg gets real pissy if we don’t let him just go to town roasting something, both literally and figuratively, every thirty days or so. And so we present: teeth.

I love old buildings. It’s probably annoying traveling with me, because I’ll stop what I’m doing and go look at any pile of rooms that’s been standing long enough, as long as it’s tall and it looks neat.

The coolest type of old building, my problematic fav, is Catholic Churches. The church as an organization is “not great” in a lot of ways, but there’s no denying that the church as a building is one of the coolest things people used to know how to build. We’ve advanced as a society since then, and now we build things such as rollercoasters or baseball fields, but back in History they hadn’t unlocked that part of the tech tree yet.

A big old religious building represents an astonishing outlay of resources for something that, in modern times, we don’t care about nearly as much. I get it: if you were illiterate as hell and your entire town spent 90 years building the one thing in town that wasn’t made out of wood, the only one bigger than a shack, you’d probably go balls to the wall on it too. I’m not a historian or someone who reads books, but I’m pretty sure most houses didn’t have glass, stained or unstained, and a typical peasant had very few murals in their home, often as few as only one or two meager tapestries.

These were built at great expense, and had to be imposing and impressive, but also resonated in a way that we don’t really have a modern analogue for. The closest thing I can compare it to is a football stadium, and even then, those aren’t quite the universal symbol of local pride slash epicenter of everyone’s social existence that a big cathedral would have been back in the day. This isn’t me pining for an age when you had to go to a building with a bunch of shitheads just to listen to one rich guy read from a book in a language you didn’t understand, and you could be set on fire if you didn’t. This is, to some extent, the upside to our atomized sense of fitting in, being isolated from the larger monoculture and able to form our own communities within the whole, and it’s that we don’t have to do a bunch of stuff we don’t want to do. Culture always had an in-group and an out-group, but now we don’t have to pretend so much to avoid being Shunned, which is neat. I just think the buildings, divorced from all that, appreciating them as a structure, are incredible.

Part of the appeal I think is that we just don’t have old buildings in America. I used to live in a house that was built around 1900, and that’s about as old as things get here, outside of New England and maybe some colonial-era Missions. Europe has some cool old stuff, but Korea and Japan were a real eye-opener for me. Just about all the temples there are either of the “statues in the woods” type, or they were made out of logs, and the placard would usually explain how it burned down three or four times and kept getting re-built. So what you’re seeing isn’t original, but the obstinance possibly makes it even cooler.

If a building from 500 years ago can be standing around today for me to gawp at it like a moron, then maybe there’s still going to be people looking at intact walls and being like “cool” 500 years from now. Maybe we aren’t all going to die. I mean, we are – the people who built those Cathedrals and Torii gates are all dead as hell – but I’m sure a lot of them thought their era of warfare and plagues was the end of all things, and look how wrong they were. Idiots. Nice job being wrong, I’m from the future and I’m laughing at you because your big building didn’t fall down.

Here’s something else that’s real: Teeth. We are all ripening unto rot, but our teeth will be among the last parts of us that turn to dust. They say you die twice: once when you die, and again the last time someone looks at your dead teeth, picks them up out of the tray at the Teeth Museum and rolls them like dice, and is like “haha sick”.

Teeth are the strongest bones, and the only reason they don’t bite your own tongue off is that your brain is a coward. It’s a part of your skeleton that sticks out and can be used to taste food. If you think about it, biting things is like having a compound fracture in your arm and using it to stab someone, which is probably a thing that has happened in a low-budget Liam Neeson thriller at some point. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the one about Ice Road Trucking, but I honestly zoned out halfway through that movie, so I can’t say for sure.

Teeth can be used for showing dominance as well. Next time you’re on a first date, or a job interview, make sure to show them your teeth. If you’re worried about your rictus grin not sufficiently making the point, here’s a life hack: show up with a pocket full of loose teeth and find a moment to surreptitiously hide them in your mouth, then let them clatter to the table while you mumble out an introduction. It works every time. No one can resist that type of power.

My teeth, personally, are extremely strong. I do wish I had rows upon rows of them like a shark, or an Ork, but the 25 or so I still have left are good. Yes, this is fewer teeth than average, but I also waited ten years between seeing dentists and developed zero cavities in the interim. In fact, they told me I had too many teeth, and they had to remove a couple of the extras. 

This is how I got my wisdom teeth pulled at 35 and let me assure you: it sucked. I worked out a deal with the dentist while I was extremely high on nitrous and had a wrench in my mouth, to get the teeth back – I think I wanted to mount them in jewelry for my wife – but for some bullshit reason, they backed out of the deal. When I realized I’d be short-toothed, I ran back in from the parking lot to demand them back, that they pay me my enamel tithe. I don’t know why, but bursting in from the parking lot with a mouth full of gauze and blood, still woozy from anesthesia, I was not able to make a convincing argument. Maybe it was the fact that my eyes refused to focus on a single point in space, maybe it was my numbed lips and tongue not forming correct sounds, who can know. I’m still mad about it.

Thanks for sticking around, and making this column what it is: a little-read corner of this website that exists solely for me to waste your time and get yelled at. If you have questions or comments, let us know at, or right here in the comments. Meatwatch is here to help.