I believe it is possible to have a sort of religious experience lying helpless in a dentist’s chair. Mouth agape, saliva pooling dangerously like high tide at the back of my throat, I am at the mercy of the dental hygienist on duty that day. She comes at me with sharp metal hooks held in her blue gloved fingers that have a mild and not unpleasant chemical smell. Each time she allows me time to spit into that little suctioning tube I am grateful. Grateful not to choke on my own spit, grateful at her small kindnesses. She tells me I have to floss more often and I promise I will. I promise her and I promise myself, as best I can with her dainty fingers poised over my drooling lips. I truly believe beginning at this precise moment in time, I will change my ways.
But after I get home, I try, I really do. But can a person truly transform themselves? Can someone who doesn’t floss, become someone who does? I am here to tell you I don’t believe it can happen. I cannot change who I am. I may seem cautious. I always obey the speed limit and bring my library books back in time. But peering more closely into my soul, I realize that I am a little bit reckless- I married a deep sea diver after all. And if someone hands me a red cardboard package of sticky toffee, I will pop it in my mouth without even the slightest worry about dental floss or even tooth picks. Later on that night I will brush my teeth as per usual, and maybe even glance guiltily towards the plastic container of floss that my hygienist gave me and think, oh tomorrow I will not feel so tired, or tomorrow I will floss twice. But I know it is a lie. I will lie to myself, just like I lied to my hygienist.
And does this make me a bad person? Or just an ordinary human being with faults? With crazy idiosyncrasies that make me more interesting (I hope). If we all flossed regularly then hygienists would be out of work. Dentists would lose patients and perhaps wouldn’t be able to travel to fancy tropical places for their holidays and the airlines might lose money. The airlines might have to close, and we would all have to travel by train, or even worse, horse and buggy. And all because I changed. I not only changed myself but I began an internet marketing campaign. I started a flossing revolution. I made it cool to carry containers of dental floss around a person’s neck, like funky jewelry. Just like we used to hang our toothbrushes on strings around our necks in summer camp in the seventies. Or in the near future, someone will invent a tiny robot that will climb inside our mouths and will hunt down pieces of food that are stuck between our teeth. It will look like a tiny chimpanzee, carrying some rope. The commercial name would be Flozbot.
But I digress. No more dentists, no more airplane trips to Cuba. And all because we over- flossed. So now that you understand the dangers of a world full of flossers you might think twice before buying those special industrial packs of fresh mint plastic flossers. I am urging everyone to just sit down, eat some candy and don’t floss- our society may depend upon it.