G yelled at me in the back seat of our blue, 4-door piece of shit Nova as we drove to our grandparent’s home. I was probably eight or nine or ten when it first happened, and it continued during all those years and beyond. I don’t remember my response. It was always hard to think of a comeback when the person you were trying to insult was more popular, tougher, and better looking than you. Even if I managed to get a good one on him, it was quickly forgotten, without a trace of any trauma.

But Cornteeth? You really can’t top that. It was bad enough he called me Bucktooth when he got mad. Now he discovered something funnier, with a more powerful and pluralized punch, to poke fun at the large Bugs Bunny teeth that the Almighty Lord had for some reason decided I should be born with. I thought we were created in his image, so I wondered if underneath the Santa beard if God also had two large front teeth that stood out from the rest.

The truth was G had no idea the humiliation he caused me those years. To be reminded of something you had no control of, a trait that made looking into the mirror not so pleasant, was difficult for me. It made me self-conscious anytime I laughed or smiled. And I sure as hell didn’t want it leaked out that Cornteeth was another name someone could use on me. It happened though. Not often, but enough to embarrass me. With every Cornteeth uttered, I witnessed my teeth grow bigger and bigger. Unfortunately, our family didn’t have much money, so I sure wasn’t getting any braces. I learned as a child that I was cursed and stuck with large teeth that yearned to jump out and play.


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