Friday, March 9, 2012

The Telltale Toothbrush

I would have said that it was impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. So, the other day in the grocery store Sweet Pea, Doodlebug and I stopped by the electric toothbrushes for a visit.

Hearken! and observe how healthily – how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

Sweet Pea found a toothbrush that she liked, so while looking it over we pressed the on switch. It was still in its package, but the plastic compressed just enough we could press it down. Sweet Pea wanted to see if it twirled in place like a pirouetting ballerina, or if it swished back and forth like a willow branch in the wind (poetic, isn't it?)

Turns out, it twirled like a ballerina. It was a beautiful thing to see. However, as soon as we turned it on, of course it began to hum loudly like electric toothbrushes are wont to do. We glanced around to see if we were being watched and calmly pressed the button to turn it off again.

You should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded - with what caution - with what foresight - with what dissimulation I went to work!

I pressed.

     I pressed again.

          I pressed again, pushing that little button for all I was worth.

No luck. It continued to whir madly. A man walked by and glanced at us curiously. We decided it must be on a timer. One of those two minute timed things. It will turn off when it's done. So I put it down. Doodlebug pushed it gently to the back of the shelf where it continued to whir softly - like a jackhammer. We slowly backed away and, whistling softly, continued down the aisle.

We finished up our shopping and before leaving decided to stop back to make sure the poor thing had stopped it's mad brushing. As we approached it became apparent that it hadn't stopped. We could feel the vibrations under our feet and the shelves all up and down the aisle were vibrating as if under the assault of a very mild, but prolonged earthquake. We walked past, looking around curiously as if we had no idea what that sound was, as it jack-hammered and whirred and spun on the shelf like a wind-up top. Eventually the battery will die, I thought, feeling the guilt build up - the guilt that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. It was a powerful toothbrush. And years of teaching by nuns has enhanced my guilt-ability.

Later that night, as I lay in bed listening to the wind and thinking about the poor toothbrush, destined to wear itself down to nothing in the dark solitude of the hbc aisle I heard a noise. It is nothing but the wind in the eaves, I thought. It is only a mouse crossing the floor. It is merely a guinea pig which has made a single squeak. But it was more than that. It was a low, whirring, buzzing sound - such a sound as an electric toothbrush makes when shoved to the farthest reaches of a shelf.

The sound continued. A whir. A buzz. Finally a jackhammer roar in my ears!

Electric toothbrushes! I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! - tear up the planks! here, here! - It is the whirring of its hideous motor!" I admit it! I left it running!

And so, haunted by the whir of electric toothbrushes, I finally dropped off to sleep.

(This strange, yet true, and slightly borrowed tale is brought to you courtesy of Ginormous Duck and Edgar Allan Poe.)


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