Naming Your Teeth

Nicholas is kind of my godson, too, by proxy, but a few years younger. One day I was walking him down the driveway to the car — I think he was about five. At the time I didn’t realize that some kids don’t develop a sense of humor right away, it can take a few years for that part of their brain to get organized. Just to be friendly, thinking a godmother ought to make some sort of an effort, but feeling a little awkward and therefore trying to be amusing, I asked Nick if he’d named all his teeth yet.

He turned his head to look up at me with the clearest expression in his eyes — an equal blend of surprise, disbelief, scorn, and pity — and said, forcefully, enunciating every syllable in case my hearing was as bad as my comprehension…

“Your radio essays are so delightful that I wish I could have a conversation with you now and then. Your keen observations of everyday experiences are expressed with humor and humanity.” Jane Bradley, Board of Overseers of Harvard University

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