I keep a clipboard next to my bed where I attach newspaper articles, snippets from magazines, photos, anything that might be an inspiration for my next column. If I still can’t think of anything funny to write by deadline, I just whack myself in the head until something dawns on me. In the past 13 years, I have done that 650 times, which should explain a lot.
On the top of the clipboard this week I inserted a little instruction pamphlet that came with a new device my dentist suggested I buy. I have several dental implements in my bathroom, all the result of Dr. Smith going to some convention in San Juan or the Sandwich Islands where he sits through lectures about flossing instead of hitting a golf course or going parasailing. He told me I needed this thingamajig because after Alyssa, the hygienist, dug away at my gums for 40 minutes last week, there was some bleeding. The doctor asked if bleeding had been a recurring problem, and I said yes — every six months when Alyssa digs away at my gums for 40 minutes.
The package arrived three days later. The box said:
Hydro Floss – A New Generation of Oral Irrigators
Yikes. This sounded like my mouth required not just a qualified dental professional, but a small team of agricultural workers, as well.
I opened the pamphlet and, as is always the case, the buyer is admonished not to use the product until all the directions have been read. There were four subsections on the first page, all related to eliminating the possibility of electrocution.
These are not the kinds of words you want to see associated with a machine you are going to fill with water, plug into a wall socket and then insert into your mouth. The first caution is: Never let children use the Hydro Floss without supervision. Too bad, because with two of these gadgets, kids could have a great water fight.