The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #115, May 2014

When Erik was little we'd regularly walk down to the neighborhood sports barber and get him a buzz cut. It was cheap, easy to maintain, and looked good. Now that he's eight, and the whole family has read the Lord of the Rings (and seen the movies) Erik wants to grow out his hair to look like an elf. Every time I look at him I think he needs a haircut. Whether or not this is ironic doesn’t alter my opinion. Irony has no power over dads.

As Erik's teeth are threatening to be as unruly as his hair, he recently got a retainer. Just as I did decades ago, he soon lost it after a trip to the school cafeteria. Unfortunately he didn't get around to sharing this news with me until the school was closed for the weekend. The resulting conversation was unquestionably our household’s emotional low point of the month. Not only did we have to explain, again, how costly the retainer would be to replace, and what sacrifices would be made as a result, we had to stress how wrong it was for Erik not to tell us right away. Then to add to the fun, Erik and I walked to his school to explore the dozens of dripping garbage sacks in the schools dumpster, hoping against hope that we’d find it there.

Ever done this? It's nasty. Erik was actually quite helpful, identifying the contents of each bag as we prioritized which to inspect first. Not only could he determine which bags contained lunch garbage vs. breakfast garbage, he also remembered the week's menu well enough to say things like, “Oh, no, we had those muffins on Thursday.” He also recalled he had wrapped his retainer in a white napkin, so we kept our eyes peeled for those.

Believe it or not, after fully inspecting less than a dozen bags, I actually found it. Really. We were so excited we ran all the way home. Becca quickly put the retainer in some denture cleaning chemicals, and soon Erik was able to place the purified device in his mouth, only to discover that the retainer I found wasn't his, after all!

Okay, not really. I did find his retainer. I just thought that would have made a better story.

The retainer I lost as a kid? We never found it. The retainer the family across the street lost? They looked through the McDonald's dumpster to no avail, went back to the orthodontist for another fitting, and had just begun to pay for the replacement when the original was found on their porch. Another neighbor said I should call the Pioneer Press to publish our success, just to give other parents hope.

One thing I did notice, however, was that after finding the retainer in the trash I was far happier and ecstatic than I had been before I had learned we'd lost it – despite having just spent the morning handling garbage. I guess one of life's big questions, at least for me, is can’t we skip the dumpster diving and drama and just go to the elation first? Maybe that’s what music tries to do.

How's this for a segue? On Thursday, June 5th, the Auto Body Experience will play a free, outdoor, all-ages show on the Government Center's North Plaza, located at 300 S. Sixth Street in Minneapolis (just steps from the Government Center light rail station). We’ll play from noon to 1PM. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we’ll move inside the government center on the Public Service (or Skyway) Level.

If you work downtown, please sneak away to join us. For that matter, if you work in Dallas, please sneak away to join us. We're looking forward spending a sunny day outside, far away from any dumpsters.

Love, Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, Knights of the Auto Order
Let us know you're coming on our FaceBook event page.
Oddly enough, the Auto Body Experience is still trying to sell you their CDs and T-Shirts: Visit our store.

PS: After sending the above estimate, I’ve received some startling revelations from a dental “insider” who wishes to remain anonymous:

"You know, I presume, that retainers and dentures are implanted with dihydrophenylamnesiasylicate, a compound which acts randomly on the central nervous system to induce individuals to misplace their oral appliances (that's dental talk). Not only does this product help keep the profession in business, it also creates sporadic fits of glee (including dancing about wildly) among dentists, sometimes during the second, and always during the third re-make."

"It is also known to create havoc in nursing homes where residents often find (or in some cases, steal) appliances belonging to other residents, mistakenly assuming they are theirs. Specialists in geriatric dentistry have told me that at any point in time, up to 28% of nursing home residents may be using someone else's dentures."

Let that be a warning to us all. Here’s hoping we see you this Thursday. Just to be safe, feel free to leave your teeth at home. I know I will.

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