So you want to learn what it’s like to have one of the hardest jobs in the industry, huh? Ok.
First, let’s back up. You might be wondering how I became a flipper. According to ancient flipper lore (dating back to the early ’90s), it’s said that one becomes a flipper when on a journey of many cosmic reincarnations, once they’ve reached a lower rung on the ascent to nirvana. In other words, you become a flipper because you haven’t proved you are morally worthy of becoming a tooth. Labor hard clinging to a 4-year-old’s gums, covered in Bonne Bell lip gloss, and you may just find reward in the next life.
How I envy teeth. They know where their homes are. Children lovingly pick out a flavor of toothpaste they want to bathe them in, and their daily life is a regular flood of Skittles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and other youthful delights. Eventually they fall out only to be snatched up by a fairy. A fairy! There’s no flipper fairy, let me tell you that.
I spend most of my time in an ugly retainer box, nestled up next to a Las Vegas mom’s pack of mentholated Newports. Once every few weeks, I get dusted off and shoved into a child’s mouth, occasionally tasting a salty tear that makes its way down during a tantrum. She likes me more than colored contacts or mascara, but not quite as much as hair extensions. I feel so apart from her. I feel like I’m not a part of anything.
Sometimes I try to escape. During a jazzy little ditty about beign a cowgirl, maybe, I’ll start sliding free. I break my hold from the tooth and hope that I fly out during a particularly fast one-legged spin, or an accelerated drop into the splits. If it only worked – if I could enjoy a few moments airborne before falling to spend eternity stuck under some old bleachers. Instead, the little girl always closes her mouth, feigning a cute pucker, while she tongues me back into place, the only place a flipper belongs.
It’s hard to stay motivated, but I have hopes. Maybe I’ll get reincarnated as a fish instead of a tooth. A little boy who wins me at a fair will name me “Flipper,” and it’ll all seem so charmed as he buys me a plastic scuba man for my bowl. How happy I’ll be, swimming, swimming.