Slices of Life: The great toothbrush takeover

Something is awry around here.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler

Editor's note: Jill is off this week on vacation, but please enjoy this classic column originally published on July 12, 2010.

Something is awry around here. I believe my household slipped through a wormhole and the rules of the cosmic universe are no longer in effect.

In other words, my life is spinning out of control and reality’s gone right along with it.

Something’s fishy with the toothbrushes. My family possesses six sets of teeth (not counting the dog); therefore logic would dictate a total of six toothbrushes should reside in my bathroom (as the dog doesn’t use the bathroom, per se).

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There is no room for logic in my bathroom; it’s a cramped space — except when you are talking toothbrushes. Yesterday morning, 10 of them rested in the toothbrush cup on the edge of the sink. I’m sure, because I counted. Twice.

Ten toothbrushes and only six mouths to clean. You do the math.

It all sounds excessive, but wait; things get even more superfluous. By last night, the toothbrush tally rose to 11. Somewhere during the span of 12 hours, we grew another toothbrush.

Then things got scary. By this morning, the number of dental cleansing instruments in the cup in my bathroom in the house where six sets of teeth reside had receded back to 10.

Like me, you may be asking, what happened to the 11th toothbrush? Did it travel somewhere — on its own? Perhaps a reconnaissance mission of some sort? Are my toothbrushes recruiting other inanimate followers? Are we talking friends … or foes?

My theories on the matter aren’t pretty. I’m not saying I’m frightened (or paranoid, for that matter), but along with the toothbrushes, other everyday items are multiplying at alarming rates.

I worry that my lone, warrior toothbrush may be sharing his knowledge with other household objects. For instance, to compound already compounding matters, I can declare with a fair amount of certainty that my laundry has learned to propagate, and I think we all know who is to blame.


As of today, the toothbrushes are fraternizing with the laundry and this may be the beginning of the end. If my toothbrushes — cleansing instruments that they are — are willing to consort with the likes of dirty laundry, what’s next? I am pretty sure they’ve made contact with the dust bunnies. If left unchecked, this toothbrush phenomenon could become a plague.

Oh sure, the toothbrushes only have one handle to stand on and they haven’t yet mastered going up or down the stairs (that I know of) but what happens when they gain audience with the shoes at the back door? Or (shudder here) what if the toothbrushes make contact with the junk mail?

Something is awry around here. The situation started as a toothbrush takeover and morphed into inanimate anarchy. My household is overcome by the chaos of ordinary objects, and I believe the pirates of plastic will not stop there.

Beware. Their leader is a bristly sort, with a reputation as a ruthless and gruesome brute of a brush. He may attempt to recruit the objects at your house.

Keep a lookout for this lone troublemaker; monitor for changes at your residence. Do your dust bunnies hop with a skip in their step? Is the laundry behaving more tawdry than usual? If so, grab your floss, duck and run for cover. At the very least, you might want to count your toothbrushes — just to be sure.

J ill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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