Does it seem to you that you brush your teeth way too often? Do your days distort and collapse around the beginnings and endings as you face down your grimace while brushing those choppers? Mine do. Every time I brush (twice a day, religiously, and I don’t mean while in a kneeling position) it seems as if I just did it. Time between brushings is apparently running much faster than the time WHILE brushing, which seems to take forever. There could be alien forces at work: Years ago, in Roswell, New Mexico, the UFO the government denies to this day, did indeed contain visitors from outer space, who were befriended by a kindly old dentist who persuaded them to put missing time to work to promote good oral hygiene in mankind – as a gesture of goodwill.

Or, maybe brushing just seems odd because I use a timer. Not by obsession, but a program built into my Whirly 2000 Spin Clean brush. I call it The Timenatrix! Every 30 seconds, it beeps to remind me to change “quadrants.” Where are my wisdom teeth when I need them? A two minute brushing seems to take a half hour. Since the machine does the work, my mind searches for anything else. Maybe it’s the humming of the Whirly transmitted up my jaw into the brain that induces an altered state of consciousness. Maybe that’s how ‘they’ will communicate with us, when we’re ready?

I admire the splash pattern on the mirror. Can’t figure out why my side has one, but my wife’s doesn’t.

I look around the room for scorpions, those science fiction special effect bugs sent to atomic bomb my instep. You can’t be too careful!

In my mind, I see that dentist, played by Laurence Olivier, torture Dustin Hoffman in MARATHON MAN and ask, “Is It Safe?”

But many people brush manually. And they might need their own equivalent of a Timenatrix while they fight cavities, fight tartar, remove plaque, freshen breath, and whiten. Since I have so much time while brushing, I thought up a few helpful hints, again, for the betterment of mankind. We really don’t want that enthusiastic salesman with bad breath standing too close, ever again, in our lifetimes.

Try standing on one leg as long as you can. Then the other. Top teeth on the left leg, bottom on the right.

Try a tune. Since you forget most of the words, do the part you know. Sweet Home Alabama on the top, Smooth (c’mon – Rob Thomas and Santana played for a YEAR every five minutes) on the bottom. Keep your mouth closed around the brush or,

Admire the splash patterns on the mirror.

Don’t even get me started on flossing!

If you floss incorrectly you’ll remove the enamel from your teeth as you turn the floss into a SAW. It’s – ALWAYS- SOMETHING!

I recently had to have two teeth pulled. Why? Bone loss in my JAW! Why? Bacteria. DESPITE my best efforts: Whirly thing, floss, dental visits quarterly. Prayer. Incense. Votive candles. I was prepared to hold off in denial until I was warned it could get up into my sinuses… and turn me into a headache on bird legs.

I wonder about the Survivor players: how come they can stand to stand so close after so long without a toothbrush? Hard to believe there could be any face to face in the land of what must surely be really stinky BOAR breath.