Gift Horse Dentistry

"Never look a gift horse in the mouth" we learned, most of us not entirely sure what the phrase meant, other than "Just say thank you" when Aunt Edna knit you a sweater 3 sizes too big.

In 1546 when it first appeared in print it said "a given" horse and I think that would have been just as confusing.

The phrase stems from a custom of inspecting the teeth of a horse to look for signs of deteriorating health, not unlike we did with other animals, even certain kinds of people back in the day.  In a way it is still a fair gauge of how the body is responding to the care taken to maintain it.  Although, with the right dentist...

If you were gifted a horse, custom would find it offensive to look at the horse's teeth to determine its health.  You were inspecting the gift for its value instead of simply accepting it.  Of course, as soon as the person who gave it to you is gone, you bet we look at everything!

I've been revisiting this phrase and the history behind it for almost a dozen weeks now as my body heals from 2 surgeries and my career advancement indicator light gets a new bulb.

The opportunity I had at another Department fell through, "the right job at the wrong time" I've decided, and now I'm right back where I was before that day in May when I decided to leave.  It is odd coming back after having said goodbye to all my coworkers.  Now I have the same bedspread, same gear corner, same buggy, same supply issues, same everything...except me.  I'm different.

I looked my gift horse in the mouth.  I worked hard to get where I was, no doubts there, but I had it good and instead of just accepting the horse, I tried to point out all the flaws and find another horse.

So instead I've chosen to become a Gift Horse Dentist.

No more lofty goals, no more putting in for every job just to get to the next step.  I plan to focus on this horse and make it nicer so I can gift it to someone else in better shape than I found it.