I pull my own teeth out

I pull my own teeth out

September 30, 2021 0 By Anton

Joseph Stalin was a sociology professor from the University of Cambridge. He was an esteemed academic with tens of papers published in respectable journals and many bestselling books on anything from the origins of human civilisation to the possible catalysts for our demise.

Stalin seemed to know the beginning and the end of every social process. For him, the human story was very clear: we came from mindless monkeys at a precise, but unknown, date in the past and, unless we became one people, we would compete between ourselves until we reached a big grave that he called “the pit of history”.

In order to avoid this tragedy, Stalin proposed that we should change our ways of thinking, dismiss superstition, embrace scientific progress and put aside all our differences, even those provided by biology, and become what he called the “new man”.

The “new man” would be equal in every aspect. With all the differences eradicated, there could be no diversity left in the world and because of this, no competition could ever possible: the important work towards a better tomorrow could then start. These were Stalin’s dearest ideas with which he was going to lecture a class of students in about an hour.

He was now preparing to leave for work. As Stalin was buttoning up his shirt, on the large flat screen TV behind him, a reporter was asking a random person in the street how often they were going to the dentist.

‘Never,’ answered the man. Stalin turned around, shocked by the person’s swift and confident answer. He saw a thin man dressed in average looking clothes with a quasi-dumb look and a happy smile on his face.

‘Why?’ asked the reporter.

‘I don’t trust dentists, or any medical experts. I don’t trust experts in general. I pull my own teeth out,’ the man said smiling. A broken set of teeth was revealed to the public.

Stalin closed the TV, mumbling slightly annoyed: ‘Superstitious moron. That’s why the world is in such a bad place.’ He then left towards the university where he spent the next ten hours.

‘Students,’ said Stalin during his last class of the day. ‘You are the future of a new world order. Narcissistic, evangelistic. Not of any gods, but of machines and technologies, of knowledge and scientific accuracy which will lead humanity towards the final stage of history: the promised paradise. However, how we get there is a topic for the next lecture. I’ll see you in a week’s time.’

As the students were leaving the auditorium, a blonde young man with green eyes and round blue glasses stopped by Stalin:

‘Professor, things you cannot defeat are hard to believe. That doesn’t mean these things do not exist.’ He then left, leaving Stalin to ponder over the cryptic message.

A few more days have passed, and Joseph was having dinner with a few of his friends at a restaurant in London’s borough of Chelsea. They were all respectable citizens with intellectually demanding jobs – other academics, lawyers, bankers and doctors.

‘Have you heard what Amaretto has said in an interview this morning?’ one of Stalin’s friends asked the entire table. Luciano Amaretto was a reputable football player which Stalin liked very much. He was the entire reason Stalin was a fan of Manchester United, the team which bought Amaretto last year.

‘What did he say?’ Joseph asked and took a large sip of cold white wine.

‘That he does not trust dentists. “I pull my own teeth out”, Amaretto said. What a nut, right?’

They all laughed except for Stalin. He only grinned as he didn’t dare show any disrespect towards the football player he loved the most. ‘Amaretto is crazy sometimes, but he is a great player,’ Joseph thought as the dinner continued long into the night of crystal glass.

Once he arrived home, it was almost morning and the terror had been committed: a seed of doubt was placed in Stalin’s heart. He was now unsure of whether people who pulled their own teeth out were total morons or perhaps he was missing something that was more subtle. Against this wickedness, his intellect was helpless.

Joseph mulled over the issue for a bit and then dismissed it with the usual arrogance of someone of his stature:

‘So what if he is a great football player. Amaretto is not an intellectual. He is the modern version of medieval jesters: fools whose purpose in life is to entertain sophisticated people.’

Back at the university, Joseph continued his lectures: ‘Last time we looked at the imaginary forces of oppression and at the illusion of one’s individuality. Today, we will analyse the danger of superstitions, such as all religious believes, in destroying the path towards the promised secular paradise – the better tomorrow. Open the textbooks at page 1818.’

After two hours of intense reading and discussing social critique that would help corporate oligarchs to launch more useless products and sell additional loans to credit-poor humanoids – they were no longer allowed to be called individuals or people, only scientific terms – Stalin ended the lecture with a reminder:

‘Remember, my dear students, there is no soul, no individual, no “I”, only societal forces moulding us into whatever we are and can become. Get rid of the illusion of self-identity.’

As the young men and women were getting out of the classroom, the same blonde man approached Stalin and said mockingly: ‘So, the world burns with the love of the lovers while systematically giving us new orders?’

Again, Joseph didn’t know what to reply and he simply smiled. It was the mark of an intellectual to talk in metaphors that made no sense, a sign of above-average intelligence, the only aspect that Stalin respected. Although, he secretly hated everyone who was smarter than him, including this student.

In a month’s time from the night of the dinner, Stalin was attending a conference in London. The topic was: “Preventing forbidden thoughts before they form in children aged four to six”.

The venue for the conference was an old and luxurious central building, full of history which Stalin hated. However, like most of his political peers, he enjoyed nothing more than being surrounded by the architectural and artistic beauty created by those who had a deep contempt for.

About sixty delegates attended the event: many from prestigious universities, some curious politicians who sought alliances with those “bright minds from the academia” and a few unfortunate PhD students that were essentially forced to be there and serve caviar and sparkling water to their masters.

After a few hours of intense conversations about how to best affect children’s cognitive abilities without changing their physical appearance, Stalin was talking with a few of his peers. These were elite intellectuals, sociologists, law professors and economists who aimed to find the truth in any shape subjectivity may take.

Classically positioned in a circle, the debate was hot, with people gesticulating, nodding and bluffing giggles. Right when the discussion was the most animated, a man about Stalin’s age approached the group. He was Nicholas, one of Joseph’s dearest friends and a man who he admired for his insights into the decay of the capitalist society and degenerated nationalist dreams of the 1800s.

Nicholas saluted everyone and smiled at Joseph, revealing a badly broken set of teeth.

‘What happened to your teeth?’ Stalin asked as he shook his friend’s hand.

‘Ah, don’t worry. I pulled them out. I don’t trust these capitalist dentists. I pull my own teeth out.’

Nicholas’s reply stunned Stalin. How could this be? The man he was admiring the most, after himself, was a dumb moron that did not followed the experts of medicine? Was Nicholas a fraud? Was the entire world fake? Joseph quickly brushed off all these doubts:

‘Of course, you are an intelligent man, an academician. You are sophisticated enough to make your own decisions about your body. Many people however are not. They should listen to those who know better and visit a dentist.’

‘Exactly,’ replied Nicholas, revealing a disgusting smile of chopped teeth and bleeding gums.

After the conference, drunk on wine and sadness, Stalin did the unthinkable: he went to church. That was unfathomable for him: a man of his position, of his intelligence and such a devoted acolyte of scientific progress, how could he tress pass in the realm of superstitions?

The church was empty and dark. Only a few warm lights mimicking candles were burning around the altar. Above it, a large wooden cross on which a crucified Jesus was nailed dead. Stalin looked at Christ.

‘What am I doing here?’ he asked out loud. ‘If people see me, I could loose everything.’ Joseph dashed out of the church and ran towards the train station to head back home, to Cambridge.

The next morning, he was hungover but not from alcohol: his mind was stuck on Nicholas’s response and on his own weakness to visit the church.

All of a sudden, Stalin was in class. Fifty sociology students were staring at him. He was looking at them without knowing what to say: Stalin’s mind was blank.

The blonde young man stood up and began walking towards his professor. Stalin looked at him but couldn’t move a finger. The student reached the pedestal behind which Joseph was staring into the abyss and handed him a small piece of paper.

Slowly, Stalin bowed his head to look at the paper. On it, in thick blue ink was written:

Against pseudo-experts. Against pseudo-intellectuals. Against pseudo-science. Against tyranny. Against self-righteous leaders. Against textbooks that mutilate human nature. Against communism. Against the boneless and bloody march of progress. Against xenophobia. Against land developers. Against stupid technologies. Against corporatism. Against corporatocracy. Against big government. Against globalisation. Against living to be 100. Against the 21st century.