As I was brushing my teeth I realized something. I couldn’t go to prison or be a homeless person. It just wouldn’t work—I have too many special needs.
I recently complained to the dentist (hey, he regularly hurts me, so he has to listen to my whining) that toothpaste burned my tongue long after I’d quit brushing, that I was like a small child crying, “Too spicy! Too spicy!” Were there any toothpastes that wouldn’t make my tongue feel as if I’d built a bonfire on it and roasted a couple hot dogs?
“You want a boring toothpaste,” he said.
“A boring toothpaste?”
“Yes. In the old days we had plain old boring Crest paste. Then manufacturers started adding a foaming ingredient. Look for
He was right—no mad-dog foaming. Kind of boring. And I had to add mouthwash (diluted, of course) to my routine because after brushing with my health-food-store toothpaste, my mouth feels like I’ve just brushed with Crisco.
I also need special body soap and laundry detergents that don’t make me itch. They used to make colored toilet paper and I had to ask a boss’ wife to switch to white or I would have to bring my own. Don’t ask why.
Even though I think of myself as low maintenance, I started adding up all the little specialty items I use, and I realized I’d have a terrible time in prison or homeless. You can’t be picky about what you get when you’re taking handouts. Is the homeless shelter going to buy my special shoe inserts that keep me from crying with each step? (Arthritis. I’m sure I’ve whined about it before.) Are prison guards going to care that my thin fingernails need a special nail hardener?
I was telling my daughter Amber about my worries, and added, “Toothpicks! I bet they wouldn’t even allow toothpicks in prison, and with all my dental work I have to pick food out of my back teeth all the time!”
For a moment she stared at me with that “I hope my sisters plan to take care of her when she’s old” expression. I see it far too often. Then she said, “I guess I have a similar problem. My legs are so sensitive I have to use a non-alcohol lotion, and can’t use it until the day after I shave.”
“Are you crazy?” I said. “What prison is going to give you a razor in the first place?”
Some people have no sense of reality.
How about you? Would you be a good prisoner or homeless person? How “special” are you?