October 18, 2005

The electric toothbrush.

I bought an electric toothbrush today. I was on one of those shopping errands, where you go into a big store -- in this case, Target -- needing maybe one thing -- in this case, toothpaste -- but you start to ideate furiously from the moment you park the car about what other things you could possibly buy so it won't seem so foolish to go to all this trouble to buy just that one thing. Yeah, Halloween candy. I need a lot of that. But why not a nice electric toothbrush to go with that toothpaste. That's a satisfying combo. It even seems to relate to the candy. I find some other things and finally check out to the tune of $272. Good thing I made sense of that errand, because otherwise I might have just spent $3.

Anyway, I got to thinking about the last time I had an electric toothbrush. It was back in the 1960s, when the first electric toothbrush was introduced in the United States: the Broxodent! I had to Google to jog my memory about that brand name. (I found this article, which contains the info: "most Americans did not brush their teeth until Army soldiers brought their enforced habits of tooth brushing back home after World War II. " Oh my!)

I remember feeling incredibly lucky to have this new device, even though it was hard to control. It lacked an on-off switch, believe it or not. You had to squeeze the "brakes," two black pads on opposite sides of the handle. It was not easy for a kid to do.

Now that I think about it, I realize my parents were kind of into gadgets. They got central air conditioning before anyone else in the neighborhood. My father built electronic things from kits and built in various speakers around the house. He had a device for planting "plugs" of zoysia grass, which were supposed to spread into the most amazingly beautiful lawn, but never did. And he was quite fond of his "Contour Chair" (which seemed futuristic at the time, but now would be associated with blood donation, I think).

Where am I going with this post? Oh, I don't know. Just trying to accumulate more things at this point. Kind of like that shopping trip!

38 comments:

Meade said...

Just don't forget to save the receipt in case you want to take everything back.

ziemer said...

lmeade,

i do hope you read my followup comment in the baby boomer thread.

i was mortified when i came home and read how it was being interpreted.

vbspurs said...

Ooh, commentary overdose in this thread -- both on your part and mine.

First things first, what took you so long?

I've gone electric ever since 2000, she says with no hint of irony.

Before that, I steadfastly stuck to my gold-dipped Victoria's Secret big bristle toothbrush, content in the fact that only Imelda Marcos and I would be so tacky as to buy/use it.

Then I got a simple Oral-B electric, and discovered the world of laziness thru' better dental hygiene.

Secondly:

Target

I hope when when everyone read this, we mentally pronounced it,

Tar-jay

Anyway, I boycotting Tarjay this Christmas. How dare they tell the Salvation Army they are a quasi-military organisation, intent to rule over people with their inspid Christian do-goodiness!

Oh wait, that was Putin. Disregard.

Halloween candy. I need a lot of that.

We don't, thankfully.

I live in a SoFla condo that prohibits trick-or-treating door-to-door.

Instead, they invite whatever kiddies there are to a big bash downstairs in the reception-cum-billiards table room.

Eh, I preferred the door-to-door Halloweening.

All the old values are leaving us.

I find some other things and finally check out to the tune of $272. Good thing I made sense of that errand, because otherwise I might have just spent $3.

NICE! Good shopping skills there.

My mother could've stretched that out to $800, but then, I don't suppose they sell Prada at Tar-jay.

Anyway, I got to thinking about the last time I had an electric toothbrush. It was back in the 1960s, when the first electric toothbrush was introduced in the United States: the Broxodent!

Broxodent gave the world a by-product -- the marital aid.

They're name should be blessed.

"most Americans did not brush their teeth until Army soldiers brought their enforced habits of tooth brushing back home after World War II. " Oh my!

LIES! What a big fat whopping lie that is.

Did you know Queen Victoria had an American dentist?

Further, he later settled in Romania, where he treat her granddaughter Marie's teeth?

She was not the only monarch to employ American dentists, who were FAR ahead of anyone else at the time, in terms of knowledge and inventiveness.

As for the general American public, I'm sure most people realise that Americans are seen around the world as freaks of nature, like the Osmonds and the Kennedys.

Americans were one of the first people to use plastics instead of boar-bristles which made brushing one's teeth very painful back when.

Many XIX-century memoirs mention the unbelievably good quality of (especially working-class) American teeth, so I don't believe this claim for a second.

Now that I think about it, I realize my parents were kind of into gadgets. They got central air conditioning before anyone else in the neighborhood.

Mine too!

We had cable and a VCR before anyone.

My father bought me a handheld semi-computerised translator, which you could insert a chip for each language (they cost over 125 EACH).

That was in the early 1980s, when I was a little girl.

My father built electronic things from kits and built in various speakers around the house.

Ahh no. That's not my dad. He buys and marvels, but couldn't screw in a lightbulb to save his life.

Where am I going with this post? Oh, I don't know. Just trying to accumulate more things at this point. Kind of like that shopping trip!

Boo! You didn't have to outright say that and ruin it.

Geez, it's like that Norman Rockwell painting of all the races of the world, with:

Colour. Fraternity. Peace.

Superimposed on it.

We got it! ;)

Cheers,
Victoria

Jimmy said...

""most Americans did not brush their teeth until Army soldiers brought their enforced habits of tooth brushing back home after World War II. "

For once we men could brag about teaching you women about good hygiene.

Ann Althouse said...

Victoria: "We got it." I swear, I was recording my own thought in real time. The second to the last paragraph was not an intentional set up.

Eli Blake said...

Where am I going with this post? Oh, I don't know. Just trying to accumulate more things at this point.

Sort of like Republicans and budget deficits?

Meade said...

ziemer said...
lmeade,
i do hope you read my followup comment in the baby boomer thread.
i was mortified when i came home and read how it was being interpreted.


Help me out then, ziemer... "unmitigated optimism" and "mortified" strike me as hyperbole used for sardonicism. No? Am I just another jaded old boomer with thinning skin and frivolous fondness for the Fab Four? Put me out of my misery, please.

Victoria: Funny stuff.

vbspurs said...

For once we men could brag about teaching you women about good hygiene

You still haven't learned to lower the toilet seat though, can't you buddy?

So RUDE. And cold...

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Victoria: "We got it." I swear, I was recording my own thought in real time. The second to the last paragraph was not an intentional set up.

Oh Ann. I'm just teasing yas.

Lmeade: Thanks. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

girlfriday said...

Useless tip. A friend in dentistry for 30 years says certain electric toothbrushes remove the plaque without ever having to touch your teeth.

She also suggests asking your DDS if you can buy the e-brushes through them. Cheaper.

Meade said...

Fine. Now can we please get back to Zoysia grass? I didn't find a thing about using toothbrushes (electric or otherwise) for cultivating zoysia grass in that monograph by Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist Texas Cooperative Extension.

What gives?

reader_iam said...

Eek!

Ziemer and Imeade:

I am sorry--the interpretation (misinterpretation) of that post had its genesis with me, I know!

I'm seriously sorry, Zeimer, that I put forth a spin you evidently did not intend. Sincerely, I wasn't sure how to take what you wrote because I wasn't sure of the color--but am more than willing to acknowledge that I was putting it through my own lens.

While I might not agree with any particular post, I truly do not wish to co-opt someone's intent.

So, a sincere mea culpa and apology. Please forgive.

ziemer said...

lmeade,

i was mortified because i thought you were sitting at home thinking i was making fun of you.

i have unmitigated optimism because i genuinely have a very high opinion of young people today.

readerjam,

don't sweat it. its all ok.

Meade said...

Indeed it is all okay. Now chins up, dudes... the cool girls are here and sensitivity in men goes only just so far with them before they start to cringe and walk away (Rene). It's 2005 - time for long pants and manliness and that means no over-explaining, no sitting at home, and NO BEATLE HAIRCUTS!

chuck b. said...

What happens with an electric toothbrush? I haven't made the acquaintance of this device. It sounds like something I wouldn't like...I loathe the polisher at the dentist's. Annoyingly ticklesome. For my hygeine satisfaction, nothing beats a vigorous flossing with a Lysterine chaser. And not the new kinder, gentler Lysterine. Give me the hard stuff.

Reading your post, it seems like you're hiding something. That is, you don't seem indifferent about this splurge. You've blogged in dissatisfied tones (putting it mildly) about your house full of stuff many times, and here you are acquiring more new stuff. What's going on? Is this a cry for help? Do your readers (and listeners) need to organize an intervention?

Paul said...

Ann, was your father doing Heathkits? I loved Heathkits, you could build anything electronic if you could read and solder. At the end, turning it on, seeing it work, oh man, almost as good as...never mind. So much fun.

Ann Althouse said...

Chuck: I love the idea of a simplified existence, but it's actually simpler not to pursue one.

Ann Althouse said...

Paul: I'm thinking Dynaco, but I could be wrong.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Victoria:
As for the general Althouse public, I'm sure a smart British chick like you would realize that a BRIT talking about ORAL HYGIENE is a huge pot/kettle moment. Or at least a moment for us oral "freaks of nature" to laugh at our cousins across the pond....or in South Florida, as the case may be.

XWL said...

Watching pornography from different parts of the globe can be very instructive about the variations in cosmetic dentistry.

(ummm, that's probably a bit too revealing, nevermind)

vbspurs said...

Victoria:
As for the general Althouse public, I'm sure a smart British chick like you would realize that a BRIT talking about ORAL HYGIENE is a huge pot/kettle moment. Or at least a moment for us oral "freaks of nature" to laugh at our cousins across the pond....or in South Florida, as the case may be.


Hey! I have beauty-ful teeth!

Anyway, I wasn't making FUN of Americans -- I can't imagine where you got that from my lauding American dentists, calling them the best and most innovative of their day.

But if you think the Osmonds ain't freaks, that's your funeral, Ruth Anne. :)

P.S.: I love the Osmonds. Indeed, I love all things kitsch.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

(ummm, that's probably a bit too revealing, nevermind)

Walk a mile in my bra, xwl.

What we girls revealed in that thread about our bra taking-off habits will be remembered for posterity.

Cheers,
Victoria

ritzy said...

You've been tagged!
http://missmabrouk.blogspot.com/2005/10/those-disgusting-foreigners.html

By all means, do come around to our pharaonic blogsphere - we like your blog!

/ ritzy

ritzy said...

Hmm? Why is that link not shown in full? I don't drop my links on anybody's site so we better get this right - can't imagine what your friends would think about us Egyptians otherwise!
here is the link

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Victoria:
I, too, love the Osmonds. Tom, Virl, Alan, Wayne, Merril, Jay, Donny, Marie Aaaaannnd Jimmy.

Pathetic. Tom and Virl weren't even in the band. One of the brothers was deaf, I believe.

But they all had dazzling white teeth.

ziemer said...

lmeade,

glad everything is good again.

now we can go back to normal.

you think i'm a troglodyte.
and i think you ignore reality.

but now i know you have a child of whom you are proud. and, although i haven't met that child, i can approve of your pride, anyway.

mrbungle2103 said...

Being British I feel I am most qualified to talk about teeth. (ahem) When i told my grandmother in an offhand comment that I have an electric toothbrush she said "oooh aren't you posh." Which tells you everything you need to know about British oral hygiene.

On a side note my Gran said exactly the same thing when I told her it was snowing. In true British working class style she thought I could afford it!

ziemer said...

mr. bungle,

i have 2 questions.

i read once that the reason the british blues rockers of the sixties never smiled was because their teeth were so awful. do you agree?

and

are you a fan of the band "mr. bungle" from back in the early 90s?

i loved that shit.

mrbungle2103 said...

1 - British people (and most of Europe in my experience) are not as obsessed with perfectly straight white teeth as many Americans seem to be. Having natural colored uneven teeth isn't considered to be unsightly. Since moving to the US three and a half years ago I've been to the dentist more times than I did in the previous ten years.

3 - Mr Bungle? Absolutely. Mike Patton is a musical genius.

Noumenon said...

This particular post has very weird comments.

I agree with Chuck, there's some kind of missing thing in the account from electric toothbrush to $273. Perhaps the extra purchases were over-overt class markers or lapses of self-control that didn't want to be revealed.

Ann Althouse said...

Noumenon: Okay, I'll look at the register receipt. The other items are not "class markers," unless you consider a $17 earpiece for my cell phone a class marker. Everything else was just toiletries or cleaning products -- plus one $30 Christmas present. And as I said a lot of Halloween candy.

Meade said...

"a lot of Halloween candy"

the original gateway drug.

Icepick said...

lmeade wrote:

"a lot of Halloween candy"

the original gateway drug.


Yeah, it starts with Smarties. Next, you try crushed and cut Sweet Tart powder on licorice sticks. Finally you find yourself lying in a culvert under a bridge just outside of Reno, strung out from being awake for three days after speed-balling Pixie Sticks and Warheads, not sure if that man you killed was real or a hallucination from the fever-dreams. Ah, those were the days....

Noumenon said...

Ann: maybe what's missing is my conception of the spontaneous shopping trip. What you listed fills the gap pretty well, don't worry about the receipt. I'm a very reluctant shopper who rarely charges more than $50 at a time, so let's not worry about reconciling our shopping habits.

Meade said...

Go ahead and laugh, Icepick. But the next thing you know, you will be compulsively checking your site meter and drooling on your last pair of long pants while counting therefore symbols and chasing after phantom Kate Mosses naked in high heeled boots.

I kid you not.

fo shizzle.

Icepick said...

fo shizzle, lmizzle. But Kate Moss is not and has never been to my tastes. I just want to feed her a cheese burger. How about Minnie Driver instead? Then maybe I'll take up this blogging thing....

Icepick said...

Heh, "counting therefore symbols"! Somehow I missed that the first time I read it.

B said...

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