From time to time, I am called upon to speak at deacon banquets, friendly roasts and family gatherings. In an effort to lighten the mood and have some fun with the crowd, I often portray a hillbilly kind of guy who has neglected oral hygiene and is in desperate need of a good dentist and an accomplished orthodontist. My character is dramatically enhanced with a set of gritty and grungy “bubba” teeth-the kind you only see advertised on cable TV.
My family has grown so used to the performance that they muster courtesy laughs and polite smiles when I am in my “element,” so to speak. If I have to say so myself, I think I am pretty good at playing the part and gaining plenty of grins during the process. On one occasion, I was having a good time roasting a friend at a dinner party when the banquet manager approached me and asked if I would do my act for a party in the adjacent room. I refused at first, but the $40 he slipped in my hand became convincing, and within a matter of minutes, I found myself standing before 100 strangers roasting a man I had never met. The crowd roared with laughter. My greatest fear was being recognized. My mullet wig, “bubba” teeth and fishing hat kept my identity well disguised.
During a recent visit to a local thrift store, my four daughters were checking out at the register when, at the end of the display counter, an older and not so well kept thrifty drifter tried on a pair of sunglasses and floppy hat. He turned to my daughters, and in a playful and innocent way, modeled the attire, asking them what they thought of his sunglasses and hat.
Sensing the fun, one of my daughters decided to play along and responded by saying, “I don’t know about those glasses, and I don’t know about that hat, but I sure do like those teeth. My Daddy has some just like them.”
“My teeth?” the man replied. “What’s wrong with my teeth?”
Continuing to play along, she adopted her Daddy’s backwoods accent and said, “Your teeth are plum purdy. They remind me of my Daddy.” She then licked her teeth and smiled.
The checkout counter grew dreadfully silent as everyone was in total shock. Did she not realize the man was serious and that his teeth were real? My other daughters did all they could to shut down the exchange and exit the store. Not until they were leaving the parking lot did it become clear to everyone that there had been a terrible mistake.
Upon hearing the news, I was reminded of Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” Some things are just better left unsaid. Even Bubba would agree, don’t you think?