It’s 4:14 am. You just woke up. You’re lying there in bed filled with food crumbs and mango orange snow cone stains decorating your sheet. Your stomach rumbles. It’s a rugby scrum formed by drunken and dishonorable college men.

You have that taste from last night’s dinner in your mouth. You downed sauerkraut and onions decorating a low-budget hot dog with Santa Claus-red artificial coloring.

You didn’t brush your teeth before you went to bed. You rub your tongue around your teeth. It’s an excavation project. You explore whether you can yank a few floss-like sauerkraut strips from between your back molars. You don’t succeed but oh well.

While busy doing this, you ponder why you used to care about how your breath tasted and smelled. For most of your life you didn’t believe it was comfortable to go to bed without brushing your teeth. When you would forget, you would be so grossed out you would get up and brush and feel much better. You felt psychologically cleansed.

But you’ve evolved with age. They change their views of certain things such as politics, professional success, and bad breath.

So excited are you with your middle-of-the-night bad breath Beefaroni that you decide to stop brushing your teeth except for weddings and funerals.

You’ve discovered it’s not so unpleasant and disturbing to wake up in the middle of the night with last night’s dinner still percolating in your mouth. It kind of tastes good. You get to enjoy the meal at dinner time and again at 4:14 am.

You think about getting up and brushing your teeth because maybe, you think, the aftertaste is too gross and hard to stop thinking about. You consider that the odor’s power might keep you from going back to sleep. You wonder whether a dab of mint-flavored Crest will calm everything down in your mouth, make things less riotous and city-dump-like. You picture bacteria sprouting in your mouth, like the pale green kind you see on bread left uneaten for eight weeks.

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Your teeth may rot, you think. But rotting your teeth doesn’t faze you. It’s part of the human condition. As they age, everybody’s teeth rot. Teeth are like knees: eventually we have to get them replaced or limp around.

Your mouth feels like a blue jean bell-bottom party. There are people there, friends you don’t like and who bother you. The Red Hot Chili Peppers blare tunes so loud the neighbors called the police to investigate. In your piehole germinates a rotting gumbo of sweets, sours, and hot dog meat from the innards of a dead mammal.

And sauerkraut.

Had you not put kraut on your dog, your breath wouldn’t be nearly as stinky as it is now. If you breathed on a car, the fender would dent. If you kissed a woman, she would scream that she hates you and go take a shower. If you opened your mouth at church to sing, the priest would stop the service and tell you to leave.

You’ve been getting stellar performance reviews. Money trumps bad breath and all other types of body odor.

Even when you consumed the dog last night, it tasted wicked and crazy, like house paint mixed with olive oil, spray starch, iodine, and month-old rutabagas.

For you, bad breath is a new adventure, sort of like camping in a mud storm. For years you’ve been fending it off by brushing your teeth at least twice a day. But you’ve been looking to cut out some activities from your daily routine to spend more time enjoying life. You know your days on Earth are dwindling.

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Your mouth will decay. All that will remain will be a skeleton jawbone where your mouth used to be.

So excited are you with your middle-of-the-night bad breath Beefaroni that you decide to stop brushing your teeth except for weddings and funerals.

Later that morning you go to work with your grill fuming last night’s sauerkraut. You burp. That feels pretty good.

In a work meeting it really smells rank and it’s because of you. People keep waving their hands in front of their faces to try to blow away the odor filling their nostrils. The meeting gets cut short. Nothing gets accomplished.

But you don’t care. As long as you don’t admit the pungent smell emanates from your mouth, how will anyone know? They can’t accuse you of that. If so, you could take the issue to human resources and say you’re being discriminated against for having bad breath.

“No one should have to be subjected to such ridicule,” you will tell HR. It’s your bad breath and you don’t have to brush your teeth. That’s not part of the employment contract. You’ve been getting stellar performance reviews. The company depends on your output to hit its financial targets. They will acquiesce. Money trumps bad breath and all other types of body odor.

You will leave the office and head to lunch for a pile of nachos drowned in hot peppers and onions. For dinner you down chili flooded with curry sauce.

Then you will dive into bed for another smelly night of splendor, eating a mixing bowl full of sauerkraut.

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