Remember how exciting it was to lose your teeth? Not only did you have the fun of wiggling the loose one around with your tongue for ages, but you knew that you were certainly bound to score with the tooth fairy when it finally gave up and fell out. I used to let those baby teeth hang in there forever, barely holding on, slowly flicking them back and forth and carefully breaking it free. You became intimately aware of just how loose it was and how much longer you had to go. That’s why I can’t for the life of me sort out how on earth I managed to miss the fact that behind one of my front teeth, there was a fang.

I was in kindergarten, 5 years old, and at the end of this special “I lost a tooth!” day, I was crawling around in the life-sized lego house with Derrick Wells and Meredith Cameron. Climbing up the stairs and through the tunnel, my tongue gave one last good tug and out it came. A lucrative little gem. When you’re 5, signs of aging are cool and most welcome, so I hurriedly ran to the day care workers to show off my treasured tooth.

They feigned excitement, but when I smiled wide to display my new gappy grin, they looked at me in disbelief. Where there was meant to be space in my face, there was a full-sized fang. Yeah. A pointy tooth, just as long and apparent as my other incisors. Didn’t I feel that in there behind the one I’d lost? Nope. After all that obsessive shimmy-ing about and I didn’t even have an inkling of its existence.

My parents arrived shortly afterwards to pick me up, and they too posed the same confused question. How did I not feel that huge, odd-looking pointy fang behind my baby tooth? I don’t know, but I didn’t.

Conceivably they thought it was a “phase”, and that maybe if they held out long enough it too would loosen and be waggled out, but needless to say my parents just left it there. My grade one photo has me smiling away, showing off the pearly whites plus fang, but I soon learned to keep ‘er closed, and my grade two shot had me putting on a tight lipped smirk to hide the gnarly “white fang” as I had ultimately come to be called.

I didn’t think it was such a big deal, but every now and then curious kids would ask, “What’s with your tooth?” Much like anything that makes you stand out from the crowd, I suppose you can develop a bit of a complex about it. Thank god somewhere along the road the decision was made to have it pulled. I made the trip to St. Jean Elementary School’s dental office to visit my dentist with ironically bad breath, he froze my face, and exorcised the thing, bewildered by the enormity of its root. I guess that would be an exciting day for a dentist. Not every kid has a fang.

Another front tooth grew in successfully, and years later, a wise woman I’ve had the pleasure of keeping company with told me that a third tooth means you’ve got unique intuitive powers. She’d read it in some book about Celtic wisdom. (Had I been born during the time of the witch trials I would definitely have been burned at the stake – red hair, freckles, a fang. I would have been a goner.) I don’t know if I totally buy into that, but it could definitely explain why I’m such a weirdo.

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