Yes sir, it’s all true folks. Your old boy here Bob Kilen may actually be the oldest man alive with braces, and I don’t mean the kind around my elbows or knees! That’s right I’m talking about good old orthodontic braces, the kind put in by my top notch orthodontist located in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The kind suitable for an old man who still has most of his teeth within his jaws.

Now, when I made the decision to get some cosmetic dentistry treatment at the age of 67, I must say that my peers laughed so hard I think some of them had their teeth fall out. Talk about poetic revenge. In this blog post I’m going to take you, my dear reader, down the rabbit hole that is Bob Kilen’s decision making process that has led him be given the endearing nickname of ‘Metal Mouth Bob’.

Let’s begin from when I was a wee boy, shall we?

The Kilen Childhood Years: Crooked Kilen

I must have been born with crooked teeth. Even when I didn’t even have my first adult tooth yet, I already knew that I had a destiny of crooked teeth. You should have seen my childhood smile; all positivity and earnestness undercut by a bunch of stalactites and stalagmites in a cave. This soon earned me the nickname ‘Crooked Kilen’, which would be cool if I was a hustler in a big city, but I wasn’t. So it wasn’t cool, at all.

Was I cool with this nickname? Hell no, I wasn’t. I spent many a night crying tearfully in my bed; bemoaning my ugly smile destiny. But my parents didn’t raise me to be a sissy boy. Boys don’t cry; well, at least not where anybody can see them.

So I endured. I pretended their taunts and insults bounced off me like bullets off Superman. I faked it, but as the saying goes, my pretense soon became my reality. I really wasn’t bothered at all. I started dishing it back with a vengeance. I got involved in the manliest sport of all; wrestling. Soon my crooked teeth were only matched by my crooked cauliflower ears. Looks didn’t matter anymore; I was a gladiator, a warrior! After a year on the team and a meet almost every week during the season, no one messed with me anymore.

Trapped By My Own Mentality – Why I Didn’t Get Orthodontics Sooner

Sometimes the walls we build can also entrap us. This was the reason why I didn’t get orthodontic treatment in my teenage or adult years, where in the latter, I could easily have afforded it myself. The walls that trapped me were the walls of identity; the identity that I wasn’t defined by my looks, the identity that my warrior mentality was all that mattered and that looks were irrelevant.

I had reduced the importance of straight teeth so much in my mind that I didn’t even bother fixing a simple issue. To do so would have been contrary to the identity I had forged for myself, a defensive mechanism built by a boy relentlessly pounded by taunting.

But after my ayuhuasca experience with the shamans in Peru last year (I’ll tell you guys all about this one sometime soon), I began to see new perspectives. I saw that I was just trapping and limiting myself with the egoistic image of myself as a warrior; an image that somehow precluded paying any importance to aesthetics.

My Current Braces Wearing Life

So how it is now as a retiree wearing braces? Well, to be honest, it’s not much of a change for me, at least not yet. I go in monthly to my orthodontic centre to get my braces tightened, which is not a pleasant experience. But then again, it’s no big deal for me. I also stay away from foods that get caught easily in my braces. The hardest to give up so far; and I still fail many a time, is bacon, that food of the gods.

In exactly 11 months’ time, my braces are due to be removed. Then ol’ ‘Metal Mouth Bob’ will emerge, much as a butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. And then we’ll see who will have the last smile.