Monday, August 1, 2011

Charcoal vs. The Tube

Look at these items.
twig, mint, eggshells, baking soda, charcoal

What do they all have in common?
The Prude will give you a hint:
it is GLOBAL VILLAGE Monday.
Awww- you didn’t need the hint, did you?
Perceptive, intelligent readers that you are, you immediately knew they all represent tooth cleaning commodities from throughout history and civilizations.

Salt and pepper have also been used (pepper?) as has burnt bread and a substance so disgusting that The Prude will not mention it.
She doesn’t want you to join her at the bathroom sink gagging at the thought every time you apply a brush to your molars etc.

Sure, pepper is all well and good, as is the baking soda The Prude used as a child when her father was on one of his ‘use-it-because-we-can’t-afford-toothpaste-right-now’ sprees.

Those of you enamored with British literature from the mid-20th century have doubtless noted their references to tooth powder tins and/or boxes.

Fast-forward to 2011 and you can find bottles of tooth cleanser lurking amidst the tubes and the tablets.

But, wonderful as your charcoal, your twig, your eggshells or your tin may be, none of them holds a candle to the lowly toothpaste tube.

Go ahead, burnt bread, can you do this?

Didn’t think so.


Young Boyd said...

Enjoying your reflections on cleaning teeth brings to mind my Aunt Lee. Aunt Lee was a school teacher for forty years and a world traveller who never married. In her 70's she took a bus from Turkey to Afghanistan all by herself, just for fun, and departed just a few days before the Russian invasion.

She once received a Christmas gift which consisted of a hollow rectangular box-like device made of china (as teacups are) which had a slot cut in the top and a hole in each side. A long ceramic shaft split from one end (much like a bobby pin) ran through the holes.

Aunt Lee wanted to send a thank you note for the present but after much thought and research couldn't discern just what it was. In the end, she sent a note marvelling at its beauty and ingenious utility without ever mentioning just how she actually used it. Years later she discovered that it was actually a device designed to role up a toothpaste tube! By the time she made the discovery, she no longer had her own teeth and was using Polydent to clean her dentures rather than toothpaste and thus the lovely present went unused. But in the end she did transfer it from the living room coffee table, where she proudly had it displayed (thinking its intent was decorative), to the bathroom where it belonged.

The Prude said...

Oh Boyd, this is a great story! I think I would have liked your Aunt Lee. Now I am going to have to research 'toothpaste tube rollers' and see if I can see a picture.
By the way, did your aunt ever write her memoirs? She sounds like a woman who had some adventures.

Robin J. Steinweg said...

I'd have to be desperate indeed (or have recently eaten an apple or a cob of corn) to apply a twig to my choppers!

What brought all this up? From what deeps do the thoughts of the Prude emanate?

Hope46 said...

Unfortunately, I know the "unmentionable", and am not going to thank you for the reminder!
Cute toothpaste tube, though.;-)

Lori said...

You've reminded me to be thankful for my beloved pink toothbrush and the two different types of toothpaste sitting on my counter, though I also used baking soda now and then during lean times in my childhood.

My mom made a point of teaching us to squeeze every last bit of paste from the tube in case money was tight when we grew up.

Young Boyd said...

In her early nineties, Aunt Lee did start a memoir but she suddenly declined and lost her memory. So she asked me once why this story about travelling to China was in her trunk (she had started her memoir with a trip to China). It was sad. I scanned all her old photos hoping to recapture some memories for her but while she knew everyone prior to about 1935, she could recognise no one after that date (including me).

But we have great memories of her before her decline ~ she had a finely-honed sense of humour and I remember my Dad and her roaring with laughter when she would join us for holidays when I was a boy.