We recently received a funny and well-written letter to the editor about dental hygiene in prisons from City Weekly reader John “Weston” Osburn, currently a guest of the state in Bluffdale. The man suffers from dental neglect and I couldn’t imagine how anybody with a bad toothache (and no relief in sight) is able to maintain a sense of humor. Talk about cruel and unusual! Unfortunately, we couldn’t print it in our letters section, but here’s the full version:
Despite my preference to be reading your find publication from a couch at Wild Oats or a barstool at Cheers to You, I am, unfortunately, writing to you from the Salt Lake County slammer!
You’re probably thinking that I’m going to write about some egregious abuse of power, some travesty of institutional racism or heinous incident of police brutality. But I’m not … wouldn’t even think about it.
Nope. My gripe is much more selfish and petty in nature. I have a horrible toothache.
I tell ya, these must be the last days because I put in a request to see a dentist weeks ago, and still no reply. Boy, am I in trouble, too! I’m told that bad news awaits even if this elusive dentist finally shows his “hangman’s shrouded face.” I guess that, for the sake of cost reduction, these skilled professionals have been trained only to pull and never to fill.
My poor old folks paid good money once to straighten out the choppers, and now some sadistic apron-wearing maniac right out of Little Shop of Horrors is going to leave me looking like a meth-ravaged fiend.
So, fare thee well, my full set of pearlies. You were the one last shining stripe of individuality I had left, the one thing remaining to separate me from the savage underclass who dominate this “fine” institution with their snaggle teeth.
Goodbye, charismatic smile! You’ve been systematically slated for destruction like a politically progressive planet within range of the Deathstar.
Now, get this: With all the tooth-pulling carnage, no sedatives are provided in the painful aftermath of this senseless violence. Gosh, I thought waterboarding sounded bad. It makes me wonder if I, too, will be seeking keister-smuggled smack—not to get high, but rather for medicinal purposes.
And you can forget prevention programs. While we heathens are still allowed a disposable razor, apparently, dental floss must present a primary and unique security threat like box cutters on a jumbo jet. In the hands of such animals, that thin, waxy string could have the potential to bring the whole system tumbling down. Imagine, if you will, tediously braided industrial-strength cordage in the hands of those cunning homegrown terrorists in the minimum-security section!
Who knew that such a minty-fresh-flavored menace lurked all this time in the medicine cabinets of American homes, patiently posing all that time as a hard-working and necessary hygiene tool? Well, in here, we will never forget.
Feeling an insurgence growing in me, I want to yell, “Now you hear this, jailers! I can put up with the verbal abuse, the substandard food, the profiteering corrections industry and even the community undies. But, I swear, if I have to deal with this popcorn kernel stuck between my rotting teeth just one more day, you will, I repeat, you will have to suppress a one-man riot in Charlie pod. All power to the person!”
John “Weston” Osburn
South Salt Lake