At the end of my 9th-grade year, I started running. I’ve written about it before. Despite all the obstacles and ridiculousness of it, I stepped out on the road and just did it. No one believed it or saw it coming. I lost a lot of weight and transformed myself. During the first few months, I started brushing my teeth a couple of times a day more than usual. Though we were poor, I had Aim Cinnamon toothpaste. At the time, that was like candy to me.
In the movie “No Country For Old Men,” Deputy Wendell said,
“This is turnin’ into a hell of a mess, ain’t it, Sheriff?” Sheriff Ed Tom Bell:
“If it isn’t, it’ll do until the mess gets here.”
Though the modern version of Aim is a pale imitation, it’ll do.
If I were at my cousin Jimmy’s, I did the same thing. Brushing my teeth, especially with that flavor, killed my appetite. I can’t explain why. The why of it used to perplex me.
A few weeks ago, without conscious thought, I found myself searching for Aim Cinnamon toothpaste. I bought a tube at Dollar General. A week later, while buying groceries at Walmart, I picked another. Over the next few weeks, I brushed my teeth when I came home from work or after supper. It didn’t occur to me that I was brushing my teeth more often. Truthfully, because of my horrid mask breath at work, I probably associated it with that.
The day I dropped below 200 lbs, I realized that I had recreated another groove in my life, one that began when I was finishing junior high and losing all the weight the first time.
Somehow, Aim cinnamon toothpaste echoed hard enough in my memories to give me another means to achieve my goal.
I wanted to write this post to try to explain that brushing my teeth works as a trick into suppressing my appetite. I don’t know why it works.
But I also wanted to tell the backstory as another means to explain it is also why I know that I’m going to beat the weight thing this time around. Not because I’ve done well so far. But because something primordial in me reached back almost 40 years to draw a behavior that helped save me then.
All those years ago, had I not started running, I fear I might not have made it through. I’ve said that before. That achievement is also what allowed me to trick myself into making All-State band in my first year of high school.
Then, as now, I’m excited to know what things I might unlock in myself. It’s a selfish crusade – such things must be.