Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wisdom (or lack thereof)

Um...what the hell is this picture supposed to mean? I'm offended. My tooth didn't want to leave, and now my face is protesting its loss.

I wake up and all I can taste is blood. The side of my mouth gapes open, palsied and floppy. My pillow is wet and stained with bloody saliva. It hurts to swallow and I can feel my cheek is swollen and tender. There's a dull ache in my jaw which makes me wonder if I can still open my mouth properly. When I try, I manage a fraction of its normal movement. When I sit up, the ache in my jaw moves up into the side of my head. I look in the mirror for some confirmation that I'm still me. A bruised chipmunk stares back at me.

This, my friends, may all sound to familiar to you. When you google wisdom tooth removal, you begin to think, jesus, they really should censor some of those youtube clips. Horrific. Oh, and funny. According to this very reliable internet source I found, around 80% of people will suffer some problems with their wisdom teeth at one time or another.

How can that be? I mean, why the hell do we still have these things? Apparently they're utterly useless as we don't really use them to chew anything, they push your other teeth out of alignment in most cases, and in some lucky people they never appear at all. Clearly they're not necessary in this day and age, so why haven't we evolved to lose them altogether?

Luckily some clever soul asked a similar question on amazon askville (what the hell?!) and I can pilfer the replies for a semi-intelligent quote (here it comes, just like 'the science bit' on a L'Oreal ad). In response to the query, 'Are people who don't have wisdom teeth "more evolved" than those that do?' the best answer, as voted for by the asker, was by bunchesofdonald, from Indiana, who stated:

"Wisdom teeth are like other vestigial characteristics such as the appendix and the tail-bone, they are remnants from detailing our common ancestry. Being born without wisdom teeth is pretty rare and it is certainly a genetic mutation, but in our current environment and with modern medicine it doesn't really make us more or less adapted, so it most likely will not be selected for or against. For now people who don't have wisdom teeth are mutants, just like everyone else."

Ha! So if you don't have them, you're a mutant.

Oh wait. Mutants are cool.
(I'm drooling again).

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