toothbrush ∼ condom dental caries  ?  *

          Brushing my teeth this morning I thought:  with Ginny on sabbatical, what's the best way to select a title without any of the (already discussed) mental entanglements and involuntary pre-approval requirementsTeethbrushing.  A song about teeth brushing!

          My mind then did what I can't prevent it from doing, and ran a search.  About 1 result (.038 seconds).  Upon examination, I realized that the one result was an advertising jingle.  I discarded it.   Began shaving.

          My internal stream-of-consciousness dialogue continued.  Toothbrushing reminds me...I don't have any cavities.  Which is a lie.  I have one.  When I was thirteen the dentist discovered a crack in the enamel of my top-right-rear molar.  He said it would become a cavity and so I got a filling.  But, since it wasn't yet a cavity I'm not really telling a lie when I say I've never had a cavity...only if I were to ever say 'I don't have any fillings'.

          I wonder.  Why do I have only one?  My blood relatives all have much worse dentition, so it's not genetics.  Is my oral hygiene routine better?  I brush twice a day, but I never floss, and I haven't seen a dentist in so long I can't remember.  So, that can't be it.  Maybe I brush better than others; could once when I wake up and once before bed be sufficient?

          At this point my brain forces itself to do calcuations.  Struggles.  It can't be that hard.  Math.  But it is.  Finally, I come up with: 830 times a year; 832 on leap years.  Then... Fuck I'm terrible even at multiplying 365 times two!  And, again finally, I arrive at: 730, 732 on leap years.

          Others may say they brush regularly.   But, like my no cavities but one filling shite, people lie.  Even to themselves.  How about others I've lived with?  I've witnessed their routines.  All my sig-o's possess relatively bad teeth.  So maybe I've kept the evil bacteria at bay for a lifetime because I've never skipped a 1/2 day.  Others fudge.  They may say they brush but I know they forget because I witnessed it, smelled their breath, and paid their dentist bills.

          Just like they also said they were on the pill.  Or they couldn't get pregnant. 

          I've paid those bills too.

          My first abortionfour years after my one and only filling (to date)cost me $300.

          Six years later my on-the-pill wife got pregnant, which cost me more than a little bit of freedom of choice (I joined the military to have both an income and attain free natal care).

          And we mustn't forget the child support payments which began three years after that.

          Another three years...let's see...didn't use a condom because she said she couldn't get pregnant, which resulted in another abortion.  And another several years after that. (Totally on me.  Because the adage "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, I'm a moron who deserves to be force-fed off the idiot's menu" very much applied to me in that instance there).  I got into the shower and began washing my hair.

          Many say they're against abortion but their regimen to prevent tooth decay is not really strict habit but, in fact, more sketchy practice.  Like the practice of birth control.  If I skip a day or three of brusha-brusha-brusha what's the worse case scenario?  Several hundred dollars poorer and a few hours, maybe a day, of discomfort after the offending tooth is extracted.

          Wait...where was I going with this?  My brain confused itself.  Like it does.  How did mulling over dental hygiene successes become discombobulatentwined with birth control failures? 

          Steering blindly back onto the perfect smile highway, I wonder, what about that tooth experiment, in third grade, at Meadowbrook Elementary in New Haven, Indiana?  The school where I had to run around the outside edge of the gymnasium, while listening to...

          Ahh HA!  The title for today is:  A Song That Reminds You of Elementary School.


          The gym teacher played the same song every day.  We were permitted to stop running when the music stopped.  He would, randomly, lift the arm of the record player mid-song and... finally!...we could walk a while.  Catch our wind.  Then he'd start it over near the beginning.  With the whistling.  Winchester Cathedral (which I always called "wind" chester) by The New Vaudeville Band will always remind me of that elementary school. 
          About the dental experiment (don't worry, I never forget the punch line).  A week after we returned our permission slips, the whole school filed into the cafeteria.  We were patiently instructed by doctor-like people wearing white coats.  They told us what they expected us to do.  In front of each of us was a small paper container and a new toothbrush in cellophane.  In each paper cup was a brown gritty-looking goop like substance.  We were to unwrap the toothbrushes, scoop the paste onto the bristles, and—all at the exact same time—brush our teeth, all-over, for two full minutes.  We were warned it would not taste good.  But, they said, it would only be effective if we kept brushing the entire two minutes.  It was going to help fight cavities, they said.

          They had us all hold our toothbrushes over our heads while assistants and teachers walked around and inspected.  The head white-coat did on your mark, get set, go!   And we all began to brush.

          It wasn't as terrible as some of my classmates made out.  Some quit immediately, stood, and began spitting on the floor.  Others made it longer and got to the trash cans near the front table with the water cups.  All this time the teacher's assistants, teachers, and the "doctors" talked over the din...keep going and sit down and one more minute!  I felt like I was brushing my teeth with a salty soap mixture made of mostly beach sand.  The idea I have a mouthful of dirt was the hardest.  As the countdown made it to ...ten, nine, eight... I stood up, kept brushing, moved to the front table and took a cup of water.  At the ok, you can stop now point, I began swishing and spitting into a trash barrel.

*Abortions (for those stumped by the titular riddle-equation, who don't want to read this whole long article).

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