Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Small Tale of a Guy Who Worries Too Much About the Amount Of Tooth Paste He Uses

After flossing he took out the tooth paste from inside the middle drawer of the mirrored cabinet and placed a peasized amount of tooth paste on top of his tooth brush. He did so only after first rereading the warning label printed on the side of the tube, "children should use a peasized amount and be supervised until they develop good brushing habits i.e. not swallowing."

He'd read that warning label a thousand times, though as a child never followed it. Always in turn placing as much tooth paste as he could fit on to his tooth brush. Sometimes overestimating the amount one could place on a brush, he'd watch the toothpaste drip off and fall into the sink.

He supposed that his placement of peasized amounts of toothpaste as an adult was some kind response to not obeying those instructions as a child. A kind of atonement for past mistakes.

Not that he actually regretted his little rebellions when he was a boy. It was just that today he no longer needed to rebel against authority the way he did as a child. In addition, he worried about the cost of toothpaste.

That's why he held onto several tubes of toothpaste he was given for serving three days is jail for a DUI charge of which he was most certainly guilty.

In the jail each prisoner, he was not certain if the technical term for someone guilty of "just" a DUI and serving his sentence in a city jail was prisoner, but he knew of no other term for it, so each "prisoner" then was given three tubes of toothpaste. That had been three years ago. And he still had one of the tubes left.

"It was quite ironic," he thought, "that the tubes of tooth paste came with a warning on its side for children. Did they really intend "Jail House" tooth paste to be given to children?"

I guess one could say he failed to consider the option that tooth paste for criminals could be given to juvenile delinquents.

It took a long time for all those thoughts to appear in his mind and when they were done he looked back down at the tooth brush he had been holding in his hand and began to to clean his teeth. First he started on the right side of his mouth and then he scrubbed at the gums of his sore molars.

He'd had the molars removed at the age of thirty three. Well after the time the dentist alerted him to the problem. And occasionally the surrounding tissue of the root canal would flare up and give him a painful reminder that at one time his molars had given the marching orders in his mouth.

Not only did the molars tell his mouth what to feel and when, but they had been secretly giving him nasty headaches. He used to take massive doses of aspirin and Tylenol during that time to deaden the pain while his friends taunted him with out mercy for doing so. Saying things like, "You swallow aspirin likes its candy." He often just nodded numbly to their accusations and pretended that the insults they doled out didn't bother him.

But the insults did bother him. They built up inside him. One brick at a time. The insults gave him doubts about the reality of the pain he felt. He began to lose confidence in his minds ability to determine the rationality of his fears.

Later in life his inability to control his irrational impulses would cause his doctors to mistakenly diagnose him with heart trouble. A few weeks stay in a hospital landed him $13,000 in debt. And the sourness of that debt would finally force his friends to confront his hypochondria.

"It was probably just gas." They would say anytime he hung around all his friends. They still enjoyed getting together. And they would razz him like they always did. Hoping this time it would work.


Anonymous said...

Charles Barkley wasn't on the Suns in 1987, and you weren't old enough to get into a bar.

Romius T. said...

you caught me.