Tag Archives: dental floss

Lame Adventure 308: Little People Power

I have never been compelled to spawn.  The second Someone I’m Dating declares:

Someone I’m Dating:  I want to have children!

I declare back:

Me:  See ya!

I know that I’m about as maternal as an oil slick, but I instinctively allow children and their parents/nannies/caretakers priority.  Translation: I get the hell out of their way.  It recently occurred to me that I’m not the only one following this unwritten rule.  As I was recently walking down Hudson Street in Tribeca to buy a few bananas at a grocer’s near my place of employ, I noticed a footloose toddler who had just been released from the confines of his stroller take off as if he was running the fifty-yard dash.  His mother, who had been pushing the stroller, watched helplessly as her companion hightailed after the wild hombre.

I had been walking at a healthy clip but the second I caught sight of this potential crisis, I downshifted my pace to tai chi speed.  The other pedestrians around me — a businessman and a chap in his twenties — both did the same.  I crossed the street to lengthen my distance from the sidewalk blockade.  Picking up my pace again I pondered:

Me: Wow, you stand 2 ½ feet tall, you weigh 32 pounds, you have an eight word vocabulary, but your presence practically stops traffic.  That’s power!

A short while later, when I approached the checkout lane at the grocer’s with my two bananas I observed that a mile long line of at least eight shoppers waiting at one register, but no one was standing behind the two nannies with four tots in double-wide strollers filling the aisle at the only other open register.  I assessed the situation and ascertained that between the six of them, all they were purchasing was a single bottle of water.  Again, what power!

The chosen few.

On my way back to the office with my bag of two bananas, I saw a girl about five-years-old speed demoning up the street on a toe scooter.   This child was the second coming of Evel Knievel.  Her mother shouted out at her that the chinstrap on her oversized helmet was loose.  Little Evel Knievel-ette obediantly toe scooted back to her mother who presumably tightened the chinstrap.  This did not impair the flow of my thoughts as I was making a mental note to remember to bring home my eight packages of woven tooth twine that night; something I had failed to do the day before.

Haul of floss.

Suddenly my concentration was shattered when I heard the sound of a fast moving toe scooter that seemed to be heading straight for  my back.  The  little daredevil must have been making up for lost time or she was preparing to practice jumping over me before taking on the Grand Canyon a few years hence.  Immediately  I switched gears and did a steady jog when two words from all the French I failed to learn in the five years of pointless study in my youth came to mind:

Me: Zut alors!

As I hot-footed my pace to a fierce trot, my thoughts reverted to English:

Me:  No way am I going to subject myself to the humiliation of being reduced to road kill by a five-year-old burning plastic at supersonic speed!

I returned to my office winded but alive.  I was also impressed with the wee one’s power.

I’m perfectly fine sitting right here.

Lame Adventure 307: Dental Floss Hunting

I spent my Mother’s Day breaking out in a drenching sweat worthy of birthing a litter as I combed the entire Upper West Side in search of Johnson & Johnson’s elusive Reach Woven Dental Floss.

The Cadillac of dental floss.

It was very warm on Sunday with the temperature topping 80 degrees.  Had I known I was going to reenact the Bataan Death March hunting for my preferred variety of tooth twine, I would have ignored my horror at flaunting my pasty white limbs and worn shorts.

Pasty white forearm dotted with freckles, liver spots and melanoma(?).

Yet, I was not anticipating any difficulty locating this product that has been reliably available for over a decade at my local Price Wise Discount store that is a short walk from my sanctum sanctorum.  Granted, Price Wise is the only store in all of Manhattan where I have ever seen this floss, but it never occurred to me that a day would come when they would no longer carry it. Upon reflection, in my youth I never thought that Pillsbury would cease making my favorite after school snack, the chalk-flavored Space Food Sticks, so from a tender age I have been familiar with retail-world disappointment.

I questioned the Price Wise manager about my floss.  He said that it was not in their most recent shipment of Reach products.  In fact, he was unsure if they would ever carry it again.  Upon hearing that, I felt stabbed.

Yet, I remained upright and I hotfooted into countless Duane Reades, two CVS’s, and some stand-alone pharmacies including one on 72nd Street where a woman that appeared to be a direct descendant of Lurch stalked me.  Three times she made an overt point to walk in front of me to coo:

Daughter of Lurch:  Pardon me.

How I regretted not carrying a mallet.

I left without my floss, crestfallen with the futility of my effort.  How could this tragedy happen?  Western civilization as I knew it, albeit predominantly from a steady diet of watching and reading cartoons, was in freefall.

I prefer gentle gum care products.  I’m a fan of soft bristle toothbrushes, but I’ll resist rhapsodizing poetically about the merits of those because they don’t require I don a pith helmet and hire a search party to find.  Regular waxed dental floss is punishing.  It makes me feel like I’m sliding stiff cable between my teeth without the benefit of accessing HBO.

Mint. Waxed. Nasty.

I returned home, floss-less, frustrated and sweaty.  As I quaffed a quart of iced tea, I searched for my missing floss online.  My usual go-to source, Amazon, had a 50-yard dispenser for $12.95 from an off-site seller that doubles as an extortionist.  Or, if I wanted to invest $89.95 and another $19.99 in shipping, I could be the proud owner of a case of 144 5-yard packets from BuyNowDirect.


Next, I went on Reach’s web site, just to torture myself further for I was expecting to learn that the product has been discontinued.  Much to my surprise, it not only still exists but Reach referred me to Drugstore.com where it’s available for $3.29 per 50-yard packet. Drugstore.com claims that it is temporarily out of stock, but it will ship in a week or two, probably because I’m the first person that has ordered it all year.  Orders exceeding $25 qualify for free shipping.  Therefore, I’ve ordered eight 50-yard packs.  According to my abacus, four-football-fields-worth of woven floss should last me 800 days.  That translates into two years, two months and ten days if I use the recommended 18 inches of floss per day.  And I will do exactly that even if every tooth in my head falls out between now and then.  In that case, I’ll just use it between my toes and behind my ears.