There’s a weird little fact that most people don’t know about me, something that once they learn, they tend to think of me in a different light. Something that is so odd that many people ask to see it for themselves.
That, my friends, is this: I have no idea how to brush my teeth.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration; I have some idea how to brush my teeth. But I’m really terrible at it. When I brush, I either do it in the shower or constantly leaned over the sink. Otherwise, the giant mess I always, always create would be all over the place, and I don’t need that.
I see others brushing their teeth while walking around or checking their email — this morning, I watched my friend Amy brush her teeth while sitting on the bed, watching TV! — and I am intensely, irrationally jealous. I am chained to my sink or shower. There’s just no other way, for me. Even in the backwoods, I use at least 12 ounces of precious water for the job.
And here’s why: despite trying to teach myself otherwise, I brush my teeth with my mouth wide open, using tons of water and creating an immense amount of foam that drips with abandon. Adam has compared the look, not unfairly, to that of a rabid dog. I cannot brush my teeth without wetting my toothbrush at least three times during the process and I cannot swallow or suck the foam; the idea makes me gag. I can’t even bring myself to spit it–I just let it fall as it may. I’ve never, ever seen anyone make such a spectacle of themselves while brushing their teeth as me.
Perhaps you understand now why the shower or sink is necessary?
So, how did I get this way? I like to say it’s not really my fault. My parents were not rich people, so we did not regularly visit the dentist (who could have taught me proper techniques). Nor were they what you ‘d call “hands-on,” so rather than teach me how to brush themselves, they left the job to my older brother, who was only 9 at the time. This is the part where most people defend their sibling’s effort, saying, “leave him alone, he tried his best!” I won’t do that. Eric was kind of a jerk to me when we were little, so he probably didn’t actually try that hard. I have not watched him brush his teeth in many years, but I suspect that he has perfect form; part of me thinks he taught me some sloppy, Gerry-rigged method simply to torture me.
I’ve honestly tried to break this habit, but undoing a mindless process that has been part of your life every single day for 25 years is nearly impossible.So, there you have it. I do not know how to brush my teeth and am terribly inept at one of mankind’s most basic grooming routines.
Admit it — now you really want to watch me do it, don’t you? And you lost a tiny bit of respect for me, didn’t you?
Kudos, brother. Your evil plan of 25 years ago has worked.