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Don't Rush Me


The Super Secret Codeword is (ssh) toothpaste


Will the SFC put an "X" on my back?



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October 16, 2013 - After I found out what I am about to share with you, I had to look inward and find strength. Was I strong enough to do this? It took a couple of agonizing weeks of searching my conscious, but in the end I did finally type the words. Should I share them, though?

Do I dare break the news?

Just what are my responsibilities as a newspaper guy, father, man, member of the human race?

What will be the repercussions of such an expose? Will my children be ostracized? Should I watch my back? Will the SFC (Sodium Fluoride Cartel) put an "X" on my back?

The heck with it! I'm breaking the story, dangblabit!

I'm gonna' blow the lid off this turkey. I'll take the hits. Come hell or high water, you, the reader will know the truth (if you want it).

God bless America!

My story starts one dreary afternoon. I was alone in my office with nothing to do except think of a column to write. In my desk drawer I found an old tube of toothpaste. I started to read what was on the back. It was some fancy, yuppy, do-good, all-natural toothpaste from Maine.

The back story told of how great this all-natural ingredient stuff was, but then there was . . . a warning?

WARNING, it read, keep out of the reach of children under six years of age.

My curiosity piqued, I read on. "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately."

Gulp.

Poison? Maybe it's a fluke, I thought, just this one off-brand feel-good paste was full of nastiness. My old favorites, the leaders in the industry, the guys who spend millions on television advertising couldn't be poisonous.

Could they?

To ease my worried mind, I rummaged through the desk drawer some more and found another tube of old toothpaste. (It's red and makes your breath smell good.)

WARNING, it read, keep out of the reach of children under six years of age.

Damn! I rushed home and ripped through the bathroom cabinet and drawers looking for any old, flattened-out tube of toothpaste. (Okay, don't hate me because I am a hoarder and don't throw much out that I may have a use for at some particular point in a future time . . .) I found not one, but two standard brands of paste. Both had similar warnings.

"If an amount considerably larger than used for brushing is swallowed . . ."

This couldn't be happening -- not in a Christian, god-fearing country where only virtues like Mom and Apple Pie are revered like, well, Paul Revere!

Helps prevent cavities, whitens your teeth, freshens your breath and . . .

" . . . seek professional assistance or contact a poison control center immediately."

Jesus, Joseph and Mary, what conspiracy I stumbled upon? Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, what sort of insidiousness had weaved its way into the very fabric of American family life?

What symbolizes American wholesomeness more than toothpaste? I can still remember my dear (now old) mom saying (when she wasn't so old), "Honey, don't forget to brush your teeth before you go to bed."

I love Mom.

Mom told me and my sisters hundreds -- no -- thousands of times to brush our teeth before we went to bed and she didn't hate us, did she?

Parents across this nation say it to their children, but do they know what they are really saying is, "Put poison in your mouth, kids. Grind it in around your gums and on your teeth. Say your prayers, sleep tight . . . and don't let me catch you reading that comic book again."

Maybe I am over reacting to this. Maybe it really is okay for me and millions of other American dads and moms to brainwash our children into believing it's okay to put poison paste into their mouths. But, I don't think so.

For me, the world will never be the same. I am no longer little Donny Sunshine. I feel older, tired. Naive no more, I feel my innocence has been stolen.

* * *

So, there you have it. The ugly truth, use it -- share it -- as you will, but the burden is now off my shoulders. I don't know about you, but I've learned a lesson here. I've learned that maybe, just maybe, knowledge isn't always a good thing and that maybe reading is a blessing and a curse.

(Oh and before I go, SFC: No more reading food or medicine labels for me, so don't shoot.)

Comments to the Toothpaste Whistleblower Rush, can be e-mailed to: Don@ShermanPublications.org

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: don@dontrushmedon.com
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