I went to the dentist last week and as usual I promised him that from now on I will remember to floss my teeth every single day. It was a triumph of hope over experience. Because as always I flossed my teeth for two nights running (though with less gusto on the second occasion) and then remembered that life is too short and I could use that 30 seconds to lie in bed doing nothing instead. Who needs teeth anyway? I can just eat baby food if the worst comes to the worst.
My bathroom cabinet is overflowing with dental floss canisters (is that what you call them?), bought in the optimism of a new clean-tooth dawn, used twice and then forgotten about. I have bought so many, but can’t remember ever finishing one. I must have managed that at some point as I have vague reminiscences of the tug of the wheel as you get to the end. But maybe it was just a dream of a better world.
I have five little tubs (no, not tubs exactly- dispensers?) in my bathroom cabinet and this time remembered to use one of them, rather than buy a new one. The one I plucked out looked pretty knackered, with its sticker all cracked up and decaying and practically unreadable. As I used it I started wondering how old it might be. There is a chance that this is a tube (no, not right either, but nothing I call it seems correct) that I have had since I was a teenager. Might it be one that I stole from my parents when I headed for University, with dreams of working hard for my degree and keeping my teeth rigorously clean? And if this plastic container of dental floss is indeed 30 years old, is it still safe to use? Who knows what they put on dental floss back in the last century? It’s probably coated in asbestos or lead or something. Or its wax has turned to cyanide over the decades.
But it’s just a bit of cereous string really isn’t it? It’s probably OK. Unless that pot (nope) that I stole was already very old. Perhaps my parents were similarly optimistic about cleaning the gaps between their teeth, but had also lost interest when they realised the tedium of what that involved and left it in their bathroom cabinet since the fifties. The hard-sachet (definitely wrong) of dental floss might have been passed down the family for generations. It could be thousands of years old. Is it still safe to use? And if I am using it am I just depleting and damaging a valuable family heirloom? I could be throwing away thousands of pounds with every length of this ancient relic that I cover in tooth jizz and then chuck in the bin.
Though as a side note, dental floss has a semi-boomerang quality and whenever you try to chuck it, it seems to never entirely go in the bin, but hang over the edge like the stray emerging, white pubes of a bikini-wearing German grandmother on a 1970s camping trip. If only I had married a 1970s German grandmother I would never have to shell out for dental floss again.
With my remaining punnets (I give in) I have enough tooth cotton to keep the Herring family flossing two times after every dentist visit until 2360. By which time human teeth will surely have evolved so they don’t have gaps between them any more. Or there’ll be genetically engineered spiders to spin dental floss webs betwixt them whilst you sleep.
Last week I wrote about my desire to spend a night with the Furchester Hotel muppet, Funella. The puppeteer who also voices this sexy fluffy creature got in touch to tell me that she was up for it… but sadly not with me. But the producer of the show has invited my family and I up to Salford to meet the cast. My guess is they won’t leave me alone with the puppets.