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Healthy Living: We got this, part two

"I’m not completely sure why, but from a fairly young age, I needed drugs and/or alcohol to replicate a smile in a public setting." ~ Robert Skender
If you catch a trout with a $1,500 smile in Powell Lake, perhaps by the Shinglemill marina [above], the writer of this article would love to hear from you.

Well, here we are edging toward summer and the pandemic is still ever-present in our lives. The seriousness of the situation must be acknowledged, however, that being stated, sometimes you must laugh at the predicaments COVID-19 places us in.

This is the story of one of those pandemic-influenced places I found myself in. 

On November 20, 2020, the BC government announced it was mandatory to wear surgical-type masks in all indoor public and retail places.

On November 21, the very next day, I lost my awfully-expensive-to-me front partial dentures, somewhere at the bottom of Powell Lake. Most likely, I imagined, in the Shinglemill marina area where they still, most probably, reside.

At that moment, I thought they might have come to rest near a 1970s stubby beer bottle coated in green algae and a busted pair of outdated sunglasses.

Realizing I was without a manufactured, but nonetheless, quite important body part, I informed my partner of my situation. I’m an introvert, however, my bestie is what would be considered, by any imaginable standard, the opposite.

Without warning, she was on her phone contacting a professional diver friend before I could tell her the teeth could, possibly, be somewhere else. I was not totally sure.

I’m the type of person who misplaces things so often, I have a developing science-based theory of another universe that my stuff regularly falls into.

On the dock, someone yelled a hello, “how’s it going” salute from a few dock fingers over. Without a pause and with higher decibels my partner replied: “Rob dropped his teeth in the lake, I’m phoning the diver!”

I’m 5’9” in height, however, at that moment, I saw life from the perspective of a really short Barbie doll. At least it felt like that.

To quickly return to the mental health nature of my article, smiling was never my strongest attribute in life. I’m not completely sure why, but from a fairly young age, I needed drugs and/or alcohol to replicate a smile in a public setting. I know there are a lot of people who have, or have had, similar experiences.

Smiling with a mostly toothless scenario in the front part of my mouth would be like trying to make a snowman on your sun-bleached front lawn during a mid-summer heat wave; it just is not going to happen.

Well, that is where the provincial order of the wearing of surgical masks in public reenters the scenario.

As you can imagine, behind the government-mandated surgical mask, I can smile as toothless and big as I desire without much effort.

Current brain-mapping technology is revealing that a sincere smile is a physical manifestation of a healthy mind. Good things are happening with the 86 billion neurons in your excited brain when you smile.

I’m still smiling behind my government-mandated mask and without front teeth. I think, like taking off training-wheels on a child’s bicycle, I’ll be smiling alcohol-free, drug-free and mask-free in the not too far future.

The pandemic has taken us to places we would rather not be, still, sometimes, you just have to laugh at it all. It will not instantaneously make everything better, however, it will point you in the direction of better times ahead. That is a certainty backed by science.

Robert Skender is a Powell River freelance writer and health commentator.