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2007-08-14 - 11:36 a.m.

Two random buried memories that popped into my mind today, triggered by a discussion of a) New Jersey and b) dentists:

Thing #1:

When I was about 5, my dad informed me that New Jersey is bordered by New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. I was taken aback, and set on fire with pride that I lived in such an important state, bordered by three other amazing, wonderful places. Delaware!

And furthermore, Florida, where my grandparents lived, was NOT a bordering state--it was even farther away!

It was the first time I'd considered that my small existence was connected somehow to a larger sphere, unknown but knowable. I felt expanded and deeply rooted, and repeated these statistics to anyone who would listen, always a little disappointed when they didn't display the same level of fascination.

When I told my grandmother, she said something to the effect of "good girl," like I was just regurgitating facts to get a pat on the head, but the only reward I wanted was some chummy confirmation that such a mind-blowing thing could be true. (Thus, also, paving the way for a lifetime of getting excited about things that aren't actually exciting.)

Thing #2:

In the 1990s, I had a dentist named James Brown. Note: He was not the entertainer of the same name.

My friends and I used to refer to him as the "hardest working man in dentistry."

I do not know what became of him.

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