A Father’s Day Reflection: Keeping Things Straight

Kenneth Piper, guest blogger & summer intern

As the son of an orthodontist, I was brought up to keep things tidy and straight. My bedroom was expected to be “presentable,” and if I left another room “out of whack” I was asked to return it to the condition in which I found it.  Not only was I expected to keep the house straight, that went for my teeth, too, which my father had so kindly “straightened up” for me.

And as hard as this may be to believe, I actually didn’t want braces when I was first treated at age 9.

I was still less excited to do a second phase at age 13!  By the end of my second round of braces I had dubbed myself officially “over them.” Much to my chagrin did I learn that the de-band was only the beginning of a new chapter in my orthodontic journey.  I had overcome the tribulations of metal bracket and wire, only to be faced with a new, fragile and clear trial: retainers.

Keeping up with retainers requires more thought than actually wearing them.  Although I lost hundreds of guitar picks, gym socks and homework assignments in high school, I managed to keep up with one set of retainers.  I probably acted like I wasn’t listening, Dad, but I was, every morning: “Keep your retainers in the case. Know where your case is. Never wrap your retainers in your napkin on your lunch tray, or you’ll forget and throw them away with your milk carton.” (Milk carton?!)

Reflecting now at age 20 on my personal efforts to Strive-for-Straight-Teeth, the importance of those dastardly retainers has never been more apparent.

I have benefitted not only from the subliminal desire to keep things in order that I seem to have inherited from my father, I have benefitted from over seven years of proud, unabashed, full-on smiling.  You did the hard part, Dad. I’ll take it from here.

Fred and Kenneth Piper