I don't usually think time is generally accelerating until I get a notification that my dentist appointment is approaching. For many years I was terrified of the dentist because I always felt like dentist offices were kind of judgy. And not the good kind of judgy. The "your mouth is disgusting and you have bad oral hygiene" kind of judgy.

Because I was so terrified of the dentist for so long, I just didn't go. Like, never. I never went to the dentist for the majority of my 20s. This caused me a considerable amount of anxiety as I then felt like I probably had a number of ticking time bombs in my mouth that were not being addressed although they desperately needed to be addressed.

A couple of years ago I finally took the plunge and got a regular dentist and started doing bi-yearly check-ups. But I swear to you they must happen every other week. Because I feel like I return to the dentist WAY more than twice a year. I think someone is playing a joke on me. Or time is going faster these days.

On Friday I showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for my 7:00 AM dentist appointment. I sat down in the chair. I engaged in the usual pleasantries with Cheryl, the dental hygienist. We got caught up on each other's lives. (She decided not to go with the curtains and instead get plantation shutters AND I AM SO RELIEVED WITH HER DECISION).

And then it happened. I lied to the dentist office.

I don't know why the question catches me off guard every single time. I know they are going to ask me about it. I know that there will be a conversation about this. Yet, every. single. time. the question catches me off guard, I panic, and I completely lie about it.

Cheryl: And how often are you flossing?


Cheryl: Really?


You guys. This is a complete lie. I, Eli Whitterberry McCann, do NOT floss every day. I am lying to the dentist. Which is probablyillegal. I don't know for sure because I don't know anything about the law. But it sounds like it's probably illegal.

I don't even floss most days. If I'm being totally honest, in an average week I probably floss one time. If that. Every once in a while I read one of those "3,000 things I wish I knew when I was 30" clickbate articles that says something about how you should always floss and this will usually get me to be really good at flossing for about five days. And then I go back to whatever inconsistent practice preceded the temporary foray into responsible adulthood.

I know. Flossing is important. I know I should do it. I know I should make flossing daily a priority.

There are a lot of things I should do. Like, for example, take the bag of clothes that has been sitting by my back door since January 17th to the local secondhand store for a donation drop-off. Or finishing Crime and Punishment, which I started reading a full decade ago. Or spend some one-on-one time with Tami and tell her how pretty she is.

I know I should do these things. But do I do them? No. I do not.

There are just some things I'm really bad at doing. I know that's a shock to you all because usually people with my hair aren't bad at anything. But I am. Having exceptional hair is actually how I compensate for how big of a failure I am at so many other things. Like flossing.

Cheryl: Interesting. I mean, I'm very happy for you, but your gums sort of look like you might not have flossed every day since we last saw you.

[Bead of sweat slowly starts dripping down Eli's face]

Eli: Well, now that I think about it, maybe I don't always floss every day. I have probably missed once or twice or so.

Cheryl: Mmm-hmm?

Eli: A week. I've missed once or twice a week.

Cheryl: Mmm-hmm?

Eli: I mean that I've missed not flossing once or twice a week.

Cheryl: Mmm-hmm?

Eli: And by "once or twice" I really just mean once. I've missed not flossing about once a week. But I did have this really great stretch in November for about five days--

Cheryl: 3,000 things I wish I knew when I was 30?

Eli: YES! It was a very inspiring article.

[Dentist enters the room]

Dentist: Hi Eli. Have you been flossing?

Eli: Yup! Every day!

Cheryl: [Sigh]

And here's the thing. I don't know why I lie to the dentist? Am I worried they're going to tell my parents? I can't figure out what I think I'm going to gain by being dishonest to the people who are trying to assess my dental needs. It's like going to get an oil change and then telling Jiffy Lube that I don't really need anything because I haven't driven my car once in the last six months anyway.

I walked out of the office with a new resolve to floss every day. Next time, I would be able to tell them the truth, and be proud of it.

The dentist appointment was three days ago. I haven't flossed once since.

~It Just Gets Stranger