Admitting You Need Help is the First Step Toward Letting the Machines Take Over Your Life
A few years ago, appliance makers ran out of things to make, and somebody got bored and put a motor on a toothbrush (which, did you know, HAD to have been invented in Arkansas, because it’s not called a “teethbrush.” Please tell me that joke, because I never hear it). Ever since that fateful day, my family and Jason’s have become increasing obsessed with handing their dental hygiene care tasks over to the machines. Why waste four minutes of each day moving your wrist in slow, circular motions when a battery-powered device can do it for you?
Once the obsession began, the missionary mentality set in amongst a people who are, after all, missionaries. They were all like, “You have to try this” and “It will change your life” and “Your mouth will feel so clean. You’ll never be able to go back to a regular brush” and “Don’t you want one for Christmas?”
And I was all like, “Nah, I think I’ll stick with the 97c ones that we’ve been using without incident for the past two centuries” and “I prefer this, because if the power goes out I can still brush my teeth” and “Yeah, I’m sure TSA is going to love it when I start carrying assorted mechanical parts around and claim that I need them in order to ward off plaque.”
I already lug enough things around, and a dentist’s tool that would in all likelihood not fit well inside my tiny mouth (after all, despite the amount of drivel that comes out, it’s small and turned out to not even have space to fit all my teeth) and, even if it did, would probably make me gag, was not something I needed to add to the collection.
Or so I thought.
By the time this Christmas rolled around, I’d sort of begun warming up to the idea of an e-brush (is that even what they’re called?) and getting those four precious moments of my life back. I wasn’t too surprised to open up a present and find a mechanical dental machine inside.
Once the day’s festivities were over, I unpacked the handle. And the charger. And the brush head. And the brush cover. And the extra brush head. And the little rings that go around the bottom of the brush heads. And the travel case. And the instruction manual. And the rebate offer. And the coupon for extra brush heads. And the warranty guide and registration papers.
Finally, I was ready to brush my teeth.
The extensive kit didn’t include toothpaste, but just to be sure I put some on the brush. I was glad I did, because apparently even Big Appliance Maker hasn’t figured out how to make brushes that manufacture their own paste. They are still too bogged down in the 197″ big screen TV industry.
I put the brush in my mouth, and ZZZZZZZZZZ!
It tickled so much! Every attempt to brush my teeth wound up with me just spitting the electronic bristles out of my mouth and spraying toothpaste everywhere. Nobody had told me that you’re not supposed to wear new/clean/beloved clothes while using an e-brush, so I wound up doing lots of laundry during those early days.
Eventually, unsure that I could handle this new responsibility, I texted Dad.
“I just can’t get over the tickling. I’m not sure that I’m cut out for this.”
“Well, you can always go back to the primitive ways of the 98% if you can’t handle it.”
I looked in the 43-page instruction manual to make sure I was doing everything correctly, and found further directions when I went online to register the product and take advantage of the fact that it was not installed by RT and therefore has a two-and-a-half-year, rather than four day, warranty. Apparently the tickling sensation would go away eventually. Greg and Sue agreed.
“You just have to get used to it. But make sure you always keep your mouth closed with the brush inside whenever it’s on, because otherwise it will spray toothpaste everywhere.”
By the time I started getting the hang of teeth brushing, and my gums had lost all nerve feeling, Jason decided to join the fun. He stole the replacement brush head and installed it, claiming to experience only a minor tickling sensation. He also told me that I’d installed my bristles incorrectly.
“Well, whatever. It’s working.”
“Yeah, but it’s wrong. Didn’t you read the instruction manual?”
“No, because I didn’t think I really needed to relearn HOW TO BRUSH MY TEETH!”
Reading the instruction manual actually turned out to be very interesting, because I learned that improper use carries a high risk of electrocution, so dying while teeth brushing turned out to be just one more advantage of the product.
It also turned out to be very interesting, because I actually did work on my technique, and I learned that teeth brushing must be universal, because the instructions came in a variety of languages.
Just when I’d finally adjusted to my new alternative lifestyle, Heather–an early and devout convert–dropped the big bombshell.
“I think it’s made my gums recede, because it brushes too hard.”
I almost panicked, but then I realized that that will probably never happen to me, because I’m living in denial. Gum recession or no gum recession, there’s no way I was going back to the primitive ways of the 98% after all the hard work I’d put in to mastering this craft.
Plus, my teeth have never felt so shiny and clean. There really is no going back.