I never knew how or when it made its first irritating appearance into my bathroom cabinet, but I hope the imp who delivered it to my doorstep is now suffering in the deepest bowels of the lowest ring of hell. For those of you who have decent, well-to do toothbrushes will never know the torment one goes through each morning while enduring a daily face to face meeting with a tool of anguish. Each human soul has its breaking point and the passionate disgust I felt for my toothbrush had finally reached its final point of exasperation.
It may seem hard to the casual observer to imagine something as small as a toothbrush tearing at the fabric of what an individual’s soul is sewed out of, but it happened to me. This wasn’t just an ordinary toothbrush, mind you. This toothbrush was designed to anger and inject daily resentment into the person unlucky enough to inherit it. It was handcrafted in some dark place of my psyche and placed by some demon to tear apart my inner being. Any trait a bad toothbrush could have, this toothbrush embodied to the tenth degree. First of all, the bristles were entirely too soft. There should be a certain amount of resistance in the actual brush of the tool in order to inspire the mind into thinking that there is a cleaning process underway. Nobody wants to feel as though they are brushing their gums with a small sponge or a pinchful of human hair, but apparently the manufacturers of this brush had no intention of paying attention to this crucial aspect of the design process. Secondly, it was entirely too small. This is the kind of brush the “Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe” made her children use. It was the size of a gorilla’s toothpick. Starting my day with this smurfish device left me devoid the masculinity that one requires to even urinate standing up. Finally, this toothbrush had no way of actually being handled. There were no grooves or ridges for a steady grip and I firmly believe that this toothbrush was made in a factory long before rubber handles were even considered a remote possibility. Every three days or so I would be forced to make the shameful crawl across my bathroom floor in order to retrieve this brush after fumbling away my initial attempt. How does someone even function in day to day life after such a dreadful start to the day? Crawling on your bathroom floor in the A.M sets up a disappointing day.
On this fateful morning my life was at an unexpected crossroads. I stared blankly into the bathroom cabinet, eyeing my future and my past all taking form inside of my small plastic nemesis. Not another day was going to go by like this…I was breaking out of this prison. My first order of business was to call my job and relay to them the sobering news that I would not be there to surf the internet and send out snarky emails to the very small circle of friends I possessed. My boss was not happy as he explained to me that I still wasn’t off the hook for stealing Katie Rivers’ lunch from the company refrigerator. Trying to explain to him my current situation proved most difficult and the severity of my mental situation didn’t seem to register with him. Apparently in between my sick days and vacation days there were no days to just simply change your life. If I were to follow through with this toothbrush breakup I was going to have to give up my employment. Easy decision.
With no work to report to and a passion for slugging down pints of whiskey whenever controversy popped up in my life, a liquor store run was clearly on the agenda. Plus, a little bit of a buzz could give me the courage to finally throw out, burn or smash to pieces the toothbrush that was now playing the lead role in the theatre of dark comedy my life had become. The next dozen hours were a hazy combination of Jameson slugs, slips in and out of consciousness and John Mayer playlists all centered around walks to the bathroom to verbally berate this toothbrush. Around midnight I opened up my front door and said goodbye to my dog. I was ecstatic as I watched him sprint into the park across the street. He had finally been released from the grips of the toothbrush dictatorship our household had somehow been thrown into. As for the next day, I’m not really sure what happened but when I woke up the front of my car was wrapped around a fire hydrant and smoke was pouring out of my radiator. I thought it wise to find refuge from the upcoming police presence that was undoubtedly on the way thanks to the horde of horrified grade-schoolers that must have seen me plow onto the sidewalk. I’m sure the bleeding head wound did nothing to calm their fears. I snarled at them and fled the scene.
I decided to hide out in the back of a neighborhood shopping mall. I had seen an old homeless man shoot a cat with a pellet gun there one time and figured that it probably lacked a proper police patrol. My wallet was still in my by now impounded car, so I had no money and for some reason I was wearing my old high school basketball jersey and a pair of suit pants. Things could have hit rock bottom here, but low and behold, in the pants I found my Staples company card. As fate would have it there was a Staples in the shopping center. It seemed as though my luck was finally turning around. I had also managed to find an abandoned sock in a trash can that I used to stop the bleeding from the front of my head.
The woman at the checkout counter eyed me up and was obviously weary as I approached her with a dozen cans of keyboard cleaner. She rang each of them up individually for some odd reason and had the nerve to ask me if I really wanted the Staples “That was Easy” button. Explaining to her how I got where I was and why I needed it would have been like explaining the imagery in “Paradise Lost” to half deaf squirrel. Instead I mumbled something about an evil toothbrush, she rang me up and had security watch me leave the store. It only took me a little over twenty hours to inhale the entire contents of the Duster cans and to hit the Staples “That was Easy” button over 36,123 times according to my count. I could have sworn the entire time I had an in depth conversation about locomotives with a man who once worked with Denzel Washington on the set of “Training Day”, but it turns out it was all in my head…which was slightly disappointing. In a moment of clarity I spotted the blue Victorian house across the street and knew how to rectify the entire situation.
Living in the suburbs certainly has its advantages. For one, people rarely lock their second story windows, and if you are high on Nitrogen Dioxide scaling up gutters is not only easy but also fun. Once in the house, I bee-lined to the bathroom and found what I was looking for. It was marvelous. A sturdy, rubber handled, beautifully bristled Colgate masterpiece of a toothbrush. I picked it up and marveled at it for what I thought was only a few seconds but with half of my brain cells frozen it was more than likely closer to an hour. In any event, it was long enough for the family of four that was home to flee the house and call the police. If it weren’t for the sounds of blaring police sirens and police screaming through the front door, I could have stayed in that heavenly mental state of toothbrush bliss for eternity.
Whenever you are caught in a police standoff, it is very important to either have a weapon or a hostage…preferably both. Holding a toothbrush and a can of Lysol in a locked bathroom is no match for pepper spray and a flurry of police batons. The broken clavicle, shattered elbow and concussion came nowhere near hurting me as much as the pain of losing that toothbrush did. I sobbed all the way to jail and begged for the police to at least let me pick up my Staples button from the shopping mall parking lot. They declinded and I am convinced that the old man who shoots cats back there currrently has it. By the time I was out of central booking, shoved into my new humble jail based abode and introduced to my cell mate, I was starting to think that perhaps I took the entire toothbrush situation a bit too far.
Larry didn’t like me from the day he met me. I’m pretty sure he had either burned down a children’s hospital or punted a litter of puppies off of a tall office building, because looking into his eyes it was apparent that he had no soul. The real breaking point in our relationship occurred on Day 2, when I attempted to have a conversation about whether time travel was actually attainable. It was somewhere between my explanation of zero gravity and time dilation that I felt the surging pain in my abdomen. The prison guards arrived and were just in time to catch Larry’s fourteenth kick to my head. My mouth turned warm and according to my last count at least five of my teeth were lying in the puddle of blood beneath me. I couldn’t help but think about how this whole thing could have been avoided if Larry had knocked my teeth out a week ago…I wouldn’t have needed a toothbrush. When I finally came to the prison paramedics were working on removing the object from the side of my stomach. My eyes began to flutter and my brain was starting to lose a little bit of function. If there is a “light” at the end of the tunnel of life, I was headed in the wrong direction because all I could see or hear was New Jersey Nets highlights and Usher songs, which is probably hell. Just when I thought that I could be taking my last painful breath, I turned down to see the head paramedic removing the home-made prison shank that more than likely pierced my liver and almost took my life.
It was a toothbrush…with a rubber handle. I was hoping they would ldet me keep it.