June Newsletter
   March 27, 2013         |    Santa Barbara, California                 

Cracked Screen

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I hate my toothbrush.

I know that sounds strong, and it’s not entirely true, but I have to use the snarky thing every day.  I suppose the feelings have been building.

It’s one of those spinning electric jobbies (a technical term) that’s supposed to be so super wonderful that you never have to see a dentist’s chair more than once a Presidential election.  The problem is that it thinks I’m an idiot.  It thinks I don’t know how long to brush my teeth.  Every 30 seconds or so, it stops and makes 4 halting spins and then starts again marking the time.  I mean, how dumb have we gotten when our toothbrush needs to keep time for us?! 

It also thinks I don’t know how hard to press against my teeth.  A bright red flashing light blares each time I push “too hard.”  Put it on the charger and a white light pulsates constantly until it’s fully charged again.  All I want to do is sleepily brush my teeth just before bed, and my bathroom sink and mirror are throbbing like a tacky Italian disco.  

Worse still, I can never go back to a regular toothbrush.  Not now.

In much the same way as my 30” Sony Trinitron Tube TV was suddenly made horribly irrelevant by my Samsung 50” super high definition, internet connected, if-you-lose-the-remote-you’re-doomed, flat screen TV... my splendiferous electric toothbrush slew the tolerability of a manually driven unit.  The jaw-dropping cleaning power of electricity.

“Writer’s block?” my wife asks looking over my shoulder.

“Um, no.  Actually, kinda on fire here.  Did you see I just used the word, ‘splendiferous?’  Only an advanced pro writer would dare use word like that.  Why do you ask?”

“You’re writing about your toothbrush.”


“And I need say more?”

“But I’m feeling the vibe here.  I’ve got passion with a capital ‘P!” I replied.

“About your toothbrush.”

“Well, I have to use it every day.”

“A heavy burden you must bear silently, noble one.”

“You think it’s boring?”

“Relevancy aside, the challenge herein seems to be you don’t,” she replied with a wink.

“My love, it’s all in the execution.  Just hang in there and watch me do my magic!” I said whilst metaphorically cracking my fingers.

She kisses the top of my head and moves off to help my son with his homework, leaving me to my word wizardry.  

I used to have a good, solid relationship with my old manual toothbrush.  It was the right size, the right color, the right strength, the right length and felt right in my hand.  So, of course, it was discontinued.  Now, every time I consider giving up the trophy brush, begging forgiveness and going back, I can’t even find one that will lie flat!  They all have verbs for names.  Reach, Stretch, Extend, Twist, Bend...  Aside from the fact that I’m not that flexible anymore, I don’t want to have to do any of those things while I brush my teeth!  There’s a reason I’ve been avoiding yoga.  These brushes fall over when you try to put toothpaste on them and...


I look up into my 9 year old’s concerned face.  “Yes, dear boy?”

“It’s okay if you stay a Mac Tech-a-nician your whole life.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, you’re writing about your toothbrush, right?”

“What does everybody have against me writing about my toothbrush?!?!” I say loudly enough for my wife to hear in the other room.

“Nothing at all, Pops, really.  I’m sure your Apple clients will love hearing about it.”

“Honey, did you teach the boy sarcasm already?  He’s 9 years old!  He doesn’t need sarcasm!” I yell again.

“Pops.  I’ve known about sarcasm for a long time.”

“So you really think this won’t amuse my clients?”

“Apple doesn’t make toothbrushes.”

“Yes, and that’s EXACTLY where I was going with it!  I was going to write what IF they did, and Steve Jobs was there to design--”

“Pops, please don’t quit your day job, okay?” he says while winking and walking away.

“Who taught you how to wink?  Sweeeeetie!  Did you teach the boy to wink?!”

[sigh]  Everybody’s a critic.  

Well, all I know is that if Apple designed my toothbrush, it would be a lot more user friendly and cost at least 3 times more than the other brands.  I’d probably still buy one.

But don’t worry.  Not quitting the day job any time soon.

We’re here to help fight cavities with mental floss when you need us.