This morning, as usual, I stood at the bathroom sink deftly maneuvering my 75 horse power, Mark IV Tusk Titan® (aka: electric tooth brush). I noted with satisfaction that I was still young and alert enough to have applied the thing to my teeth and not my hair.
The doodad’s buzzy drone, reminiscent of a vacuum cleaner that has thrown a rod, put me into a dreamy state. No, not Norph Dakota. I mean the kind of state where you appraise your mirrored self and can’t keep from thinking: not bad for a guy who survived four years of Latin.
I wondered if today would be the day my ship came in. Many years have I stood with nose pressed hard against the windowpane, scouring the suburban horizon (pretty much the house across the street). I long for the cry “Sail ho! Make way for McGuire’s ship. Hey, McGurk, keep your hands off. I said McGuire’s ship.”
Will it be a galleon loaded with gold and jewels? A packet ship stacked with barrels of chocolate pudding and fried Spam? A Schooner of Pilsner with chips, Chipotle salsa and refried magic beans?
A niggling thought intruded on my musing-while-brushing. I tried to shunt it aside with the handy Thought Shunt™ that K-Mac gave me for my birthday. While handy, it is also a tricky device to master. With my mind stuck fast in the crock of delusion, I fumbled the gizmo and the thought broke through.
And it said “Hmm. Have you noticed that you’re brushing your teeth from right to left today instead of left to right?”
My eyebrows shot up to my hairline, a near impossibility since the hairline decamped years ago. Shaken, I shut down the Tusk Titan.™ Since forever my morning brushing ritual has started at the upper reserved box on the left side of my jaw. Today, for some reason, I started high in the stalactites of the right (ironically, the wrong), going completely against the grain. As we well know, grain doesn’t like to be gone against.
To help orient you, picture my head as north, my butt as south, my left ear as west and right ear as east. On a normal day, with bristles pointed inward, I begin on that upper left grinder, the Holy Molar. Slowly, I Zamboni my way east across the sheer face of the deadly front range incisors–known ominously by tooth jockeys as the flat irons.
Upon reaching the Far East and without missing a beat, I perform the complicated maneuver known to World War I dog-fighting pilots as an Immelman. I flip the Tooth Titan™ upside down, pivoting slightly so that the bristles now face in the same direction as my nose.
With care I drop the Tusker one sixteenth of an inch. Moving east to west (aka: here to there) I dig into the backside of the front pearlies. When done, I drop down to the lower chewbies, crossing the International Jaw Line—meaning it is now yesterday, but only until tomorrow.
You may ask “So? Are you daft? Do you think we care how you brush your teeth? Are you a loon? Have you considered a rubber room? Are you stupid? Where can I get one of those Thought Shunts™?”
The fact is, I don’t know if I’m daft. I don’t know why I suddenly went against the grain. I’ve checked the yellow pages and the internet for psychologists specializing in tooth-brushing pattern disorders and/or grainyopathic behavior. Turns out there are several, but they all list the same 800 number in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, I press my nose hard against the windowpane and search for an answer. I hope this doesn’t delay my ship.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2014, all rights reserved.