This post first appeared on May 15, 2019.
My husband pokes his head out the bathroom door. “Would you pick up toothpaste while you’re out?”
“Sure.” If I had a brain, I would not ask the following question. But I am an American — programmed by 5,000 daily ads to love choices. “What kind of toothpaste?”
“No fancy stuff. Plain old toothpaste.” Kissing me goodbye, he leaves for work, not noticing his words just shut down my body systems.
“Plain old toothpaste”? How could the love of my life condemn me to such a fate?
Therapeutic coffee brings me to my senses. A veteran of 10 gazillion shopping trips should not be so easily shaken. Not only will I find plain old toothpaste, I will hit a triple-coupon, buy-10-for-$10 sale.
The 329 brands in the first discount store do not intimidate me. My choice was settled decades ago because, like most parents of Baby Boomers, mine heeded the infallible 1960s “Look, Ma, no cavities!” commercials featuring kids wearing Roy Rogers cowboy hats. If you couldn’t trust Roy Rogers for your dental care, whom could you trust?
So, I gravitate to the familiar logo, searching shelves where I should find a hundred tubes of plain old toothpaste. Instead, in my quest for the pure and simple, I must read each and every label. Hubby never has liked big stripes on his shirts or toothpaste.
Blue gels resemble congealed Windex. No peroxide, baking soda, or Clorox® needed. As for pro-health and clean mint varieties — hopefully, they do not present true breakthroughs Did manufacturers formerly sell anti-health and dirty mint toothpaste?
I cannot find one single tube of plain old toothpaste. But when the going gets tough, wimps hit the Internet. Somewhere in all cyberspace, I will find it.
Instead, I find 3,481 flavors. During the 1960s, any brand that dared deviate from mint was subject to congressional review. Today, however, choices include vanilla, bitter chocolate, caramel, pumpkin pudding, cola, Indian curry and pork. If a person wants to go to work smelling like a distillery, he can brush with bourbon-flavored paste.
However, my husband likes his job. I give up and buy tartar control. Will he notice the difference?
Having spent all energy and brain power on the Great Toothpaste Quest, I have forgotten to buy groceries. Out of milk, I stop by a small village store and discover plain old mint toothpaste. No gel. No bleach. No curry. No bourbon.
I dash home with my treasure, excited. He seems mildly pleased.
Minutes later, he sticks his head out the bathroom door. “Could you buy me more deodorant, please? None of that fancy stuff….”
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What “simple” shopping trip turned complicated for you?