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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #485
Wisdom
David Gunn

Directly he attained the age of eighteen, Marcus Maracas got smart. Oh sure, he showed signs of intelligent life during his late pre-adolescent years, but from the age of eleven to seventeen, he was conspicuously stupid. After his otherwise loving parents had hired round-the-clock tutors and supplemented his diet with gingko to no avail, they freely admitted that he was dumber than dirt. But his eighteenth birthday changed all that. Coincident with Marcus' sudden blossoming of aptitude was the eruption of four enamel-sheathed bonelike nodules in the rear of his mouth, back behind the bicuspids, incisors and tusks. They were, of course, les dents de la sagesse--his wisdom teeth.

Whereas a typical wisdom tooth is a broad-crowned molar whose purpose is to grind food and occasionally harbor an RF alien implant, each of Marcus' wisdom teeth could reason, type, play a musical instrument and ventriloquize. Besides the pulp, dentin and protactinium that make up a normal wisdom tooth, x-rays revealed that Marcus' also contained microprocessors and laser range-finders, plus dozens of minute mechanisms whose function his dentist, Dr. Rictus, simply couldn't begin to surmise. His advice to Marcus: brush and floss each day, and avoid too many between-meal treats. He should have added Homemaker Security.

Now Marcus was positively breezing through school. He spoke twenty-eight languages fluently, including one he invented that was based entirely on the smacking of his lips. He solved complex quadratic equations and formulated new mathematical theorems in his sleep. His athletic prowess knew no bounds, as he excelled in squash, snooker and synchronized skittles--amazingly all at the same time. And while prior to the appearance of his rearmost molars he displayed absolutely no musical aptitude, now he was composing triskaidekaphonic art songs with aplomb.

His parents were thrilled at his achievements, and naturally wanted everyone to know of them, especially those who had cruelly mocked Marcus when he was stupid. Unfortunately, one person who got wind of the unusually bright teeth was a Homemaker Security bureaucrat. He showed up at Marcus' home one day with an entourage of dentition flunkies and immediately ordered the teeth pulled for national security reasons. The teeth, however, had other ideas. The moment the chief oral surgeon inserted his hand into Marcus' mouth, they bit down hard, injecting a soporific agent into his bloodstream. So powerful was the drug that it affected every member of the Homemaker Security detail, and all twelve of them fell promptly into a deep, hypnotic sleep. Marcus packed the bodies in a shipping crate among layers of aspartame-scented excelsior and mailed them to Mexico City, where they were dressed in vivid, inflatable costumes and exhibited in the annual Día de los Muertos festival.

A year passed. Marcus matured. All of his teeth grew, but not in proportion to his jaw, which favored the leaner, Northern European look. Soon, the regular molars were fighting the wisdoms for space. Adopting a "first come, first served" attitude, they tried to shove their Johnny-come-lately brothers back against the jawbone. The wisdoms fought back, grinding away all night long and keeping the whole mouth awake. Of course, these dental skirmishes affected Marcus, too, and the combination of sleeplessness and painfully impacted teeth finally drove him back to Dr. Rictus.

Although the good dentist readily embraced Marcus' newfound intellect, he decided that in order to maintain good oral health, extraction of the clever but impacted teeth was necessary. The wisdoms, of course, demurred, and straightaway conferred to decide on a defensive strategy. But before they could implement their plan, Dr. Rictus, disguised as a very big strand of waxed floss, snuck up on and sedated them.

The surgery wasn't easy. Marcus' wisdoms were lodged tightly in his jaw. Standard drilling techniques failed utterly. A revolutionary block and tackle procedure was likewise unsuccessful. Pneumatic crowbars, isotronic corkscrews, dentation magnetrons, electronic sledgehammers--Dr. Rictus employed them all for naught. As a last resort, he tried wheedling. No matter they were completely unconscious, the four smart molars instantly responded to the dentist's flattery and cajolery. And when he gently stroked them with his fingers, they promptly popped free of their mandibular constraints and hopped happily into his hand.

The good dentist was sorely tempted to profit from the teeth. Surely they would command a hefty sum from the right buyer. However, the moment he typed eBay into his computer's search engine, all four teeth clamped down hard on his index finger. He got the message and quickly shut off his computer.

These days, Marcus is again slow on the uptake, though traces of his transitory brilliance show up from time to time. His four wisdom teeth and the dentist who extracted them have disappeared, however reports from the international carnival circuit of tap-dancing talking molars suggest that they may be traveling incognito through Argentina.

Where they are surely not is on this 485th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, not that we wouldn't be delighted to have them. As it is we have a pretty good interview today, and, for better or worse, we always have Kalvos.