December 16, 2014 | ,

Dear University Office of Risk Management (II)

Photo Credit: “Saw” by Augusto Serna

Dear University Office of Risk Management (II)

I wanted you to know about an imminent threat to the campus community presented by changes to our dental plan. Specifically, I am concerned about the elimination of benefits for family members of university employees. More specifically, my wife’s teeth matter a great deal to me. The origin of this situation reaches back several decades, to my teenaged years, when I had my first serious girlfriend: Rebecca Lee Foster. She was a truly wonderful girl with a quick wit and supple limbs. Yet she had an overbite that earned her the unfortunate moniker “Becca Bucktooth.” While I had no complaints about her teeth when they sank into my shoulder as we rocked the backseat of my parents’ Volvo, I found it distracting when somebody with whom I associated was publicly mocked. So, I broke up with Becky, resolved to find a companion with better teeth. Several years later, I identified a suitable replacement in my wife. Despite what some might see as defects in other physical departments, anybody who inspected her mouth would acknowledge that she has divine teeth. As a girl, she did not need braces, and she has never had a cavity. However, my wife is getting older, and lack of regular oral care might have irreparable fallout. You can imagine how anxiety about the limitations of our new dental plan has distracted me, taking time and energy away from my scholarship: a book-length study on monstrosity, which, Derrida posits, permits us to understand conventions by transgressing them. As such, your prompt attention to this important health and safety matter would be most appreciated.


Dr. Noel Sloboda
Researcher in the Humanities

This piece is part of a chapbook, Risk Management Studies, fromKattywompus Press

Noel Sloboda’s work has recently appeared in Bayou, Fourteen Hills, PANK, and Salamander. He is the author of the poetry collections Shell Games (sunnyoutside, 2008) and Our Rarer Monsters (sunnyoutside, 2013) as well as several chapbooks. Sloboda has also published a book about Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein.  

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