by Bob Wood
Does it seem to you that you brush your teeth way too often? Do
your days distort and collapse around the beginnings and endings
as you face down your grimace while brushing those choppers?
Mine do. Every time I brush (twice a day, religiously, and I
don't mean while in a kneeling position) it seems as if I just
did it. Time between brushings is apparently running much faster
than the time WHILE brushing, which seems to take forever. There
could be alien forces at work: Years ago, in Roswell, New
Mexico, the UFO the government denies to this day, did indeed
contain visitors from outer space, who were befriended by a
kindly old dentist who persuaded them to put missing time to
work to promote good oral hygiene in mankind - as a gesture of
Or, maybe brushing just seems odd because I use a timer. Not by
obsession, but a program built into my Whirly 2000 Spin Clean
brush. I call it The Timenatrix! Every 30 seconds, it beeps to
remind me to change "quadrants." Where are my wisdom teeth when
I need them? A two minute brushing seems to take a half hour.
Since the machine does the work, my mind searches for anything
else. Maybe it's the humming of the Whirly transmitted up my jaw
into the brain that induces an altered state of consciousness.
Maybe that's how 'they' will communicate with us, when we're
I admire the splash pattern on the mirror. Can't figure out why
my side has one, but my wife's doesn't.
I look around the room for scorpions, those science fiction
special effect bugs sent to atomic bomb my instep. You can't be
In my mind, I see that dentist, played by Laurence Olivier,
torture Dustin Hoffman in MARATHON MAN and ask, "Is It Safe?"
But many people brush manually. And they might need their own
equivalent of a Timenatrix while they fight cavities, fight
tartar, remove plaque, freshen breath, and whiten. Since I have
so much time while brushing, I thought up a few helpful hints,
again, for the betterment of mankind. We really don't want that
enthusiastic salesman with bad breath standing too close, ever
again, in our lifetimes.
Try standing on one leg as long as you can. Then the other. Top
teeth on the left leg, bottom on the right.
Try a tune. Since you forget most of the words, do the part you
know. Sweet Home Alabama on the top, Smooth (c'mon - Rob Thomas
and Santana played for a YEAR every five minutes) on the bottom.
Keep your mouth closed around the brush or,
Admire the splash patterns on the mirror.
Don't even get me started on flossing!
If you floss incorrectly you'll remove the enamel from your
teeth as you turn the floss into a SAW. It's - ALWAYS- SOMETHING!
I recently had to have two teeth pulled. Why? Bone loss in my
JAW! Why? Bacteria. DESPITE my best efforts: Whirly thing,
floss, dental visits quarterly. Prayer. Incense. Votive candles.
I was prepared to hold off in denial until I was warned it could
get up into my sinuses... and turn me into a headache on bird
I wonder about the Survivor players: how come they can stand to
stand so close after so long without a toothbrush? Hard to
believe there could be any face to face in the land of what must
surely be really stinky BOAR breath.