The following story, with names changed, was told by one of my students years ago.
When parents remarry, you just never know what you are in for. I met my stepmother eight years ago when my dad brought her over to my grandmother’s house. “Girls,” he said, “this is Marjorie.” She stuck out her hand and gave a big smile. My sister and I stood, stunned. She only had three teeth.
It had been a while since I had seen Marjorie before my wedding. When she arrived, I kept telling my husband, “There’s something different about her.” It came to me: she had gotten false teeth.
At the next family event, Marjorie kept raving about the chocolate cake on the table. Moments later Joe came to me sort of chuckling. “What’s happened now?” I asked.
He replied, “Well, your stepmom took out her teeth and she’s chomping on her chocolate cake in the corner.” I thought, okay, this must be just because we’re around family.
Months later we went out to dinner with Dad and Marjorie at a local restaurant. She picked at her food for a while and kept mumbling to my dad. Finally, he said, “I don’t care, just do it.” Joe and I looked at each other puzzled. Then Marjorie picked up her napkin, placed it over her mouth, pulled her teeth out, and set them on the table. She smiled, all gums, and began to eat her food.
If you’re going to deal with a challenging relationship, you would probably rather deal with a person that doesn’t have any teeth than one who doesn’t have any personality.
[Or you might choose to make your punch line just the opposite, especially in the business world: if you’re dealing with a challenging relationship, perhaps you’d rather have a person with no personality than one with no teeth.]