When I was a kid, I can’t say that I hated going to the dentist. I can’t say that because I didn’t go often enough to form an opinion about it.

I blame my sister for this, actually. She had crooked teeth and had to wear a retainer for many years, and I think she just burned my parents’ out on visiting the dentist. When I came along four years later, they just looked at me and said “Good enough.”

Never mind the fact that I had buck teeth. And that my last name was Beever.

You think I’m kidding about the buck teeth? When I was in Fourth Grade and finally able to preview what band instrument I was going to play, my heart was set on the clarinet. You know who can’t play the clarinet? Little girls with buck teeth. Yes, they actually told me I could not play the clarinet because it would be too difficult for me to wrap my lips around both my teeth and the mouthpiece. Instead, I was given a flute, just like my sister.

When I began complaining to my mom and dad about my buck teeth and asking for braces, they told me that they would not pay for braces and if I didn’t want to have buck teeth, I was going to have to push them back in with my thumb. They then demonstrated how, whenever I sat in class or was reading or whatever, I could just prop my face up with my thumb on my front teeth.

You can’t make this stuff up.

When I have accused my mother of being a horrible parent using this example, she has always given me the same answer, “Hey, it worked!” Well, yes, it did. I actually have very straight teeth and never wore braces or even a retainer.

Of course, I am now in therapy, taking an antidepressant and wear a mouth guard at night due to high levels of stress, but that’s another story for another time.

Meanwhile, back in 5th grade, I started beginner band using my sister’s beginner flute. By then, she was a freshman in High School and had graduated to the oboe during concert season and in marching band, she was getting ready to try out for Drum Major. Always the over-achiever, she went on to play piccolo solos from the podium while directing the marching band – something our small town had never witnessed before. During concert season, she took private oboe lessons from a professional oboe player in San Antonio and always played lots of solos. She was our band director’s star pupil. She was also a beauty queen and competed in the Texas Miss Junior Miss pageant as well as taking dance for many years where she was always on the first row.

Meanwhile, I was the buck-toothed little sister who looked like she was always sucking her thumb during class.

I, too, tried the oboe eventually but decided by 8th grade that I needed to make my own way in the world. And so I switched to the French Horn.

When I asked my mom if I could switch to the French Horn, her response was “Go ask your dad”. When I asked my dad, he said “Isn’t that the thing that always has all that spit in it?” Why yes, yes it is. But I loved the way it sounded and so he agreed.

Now this was an instrument that served a dual purpose: it was as polar opposite of my sister as possible, plus it pushed in my teeth while I played, giving me a break from doing it myself.

And so, by about half way through High School, I was no longer a buck-toothed Beever. I was just a Beever.

Then I met Brad and went from being just a Beever to a Just-Beever. No, I’m just kidding. Now my name is legally Britany Beever Just.

Like I said, you can’t make this stuff up.