Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flushing Teeth

Hot summer days in Alaska were a rarity.  We had no air-conditioner, but simply opened windows after cutting through the paint with a razor-blade.   On one particular balmy day in Kodiak, my mother cooked some delicious chocolate chip cookies.  From the moment they started baking, my mouth watered as their sweet smell permeated every inch of our home.  My six-year-old tummy growled as I lay on the sofa, reading my favorite Dr. Seuss book.  The green eggs and ham did little to squelch the roaring cookie monster living in my belly.  I wanted cookies more than a fish wants water.  Without a thick, gooey, chocolate chipper melting in my frothing mouth, I was sure to die.
Finally the cookies were ready.  There were a dozen.  I counted them and tried to divide the amount I would be alloted by staring at the hot sheet.  Twelve divided by four people was not yet a part of my education.  Instead, I took the four rows and figured one of them was mine.  Therefore I had one, two, three.  Three!  Awesome, I would eat one now and save two for later.
"Mom, can I have a glass of milk with mine?" I asked, hoping she'd get the hint.
"Yes, when we have them for dessert tonight," she replied.  It was as if she hit me with a brick!  My expression dropped and I tried to think fast.
"Can I have one now and eat the other two for dessert?" I pleaded, trying to look like Oliver Twist.  My mother gazed down at my wretched bargaining attempt and took pity.
"OK, just one, but that's it." she said, smiling as she put a cookie on a small plate.
"Thank you, mom!  You're the best!" I shouted as I hugged her benevolent leg.  I bit into the cookie and all the joy ever experienced by humankind exploded in my mouth.  It was the best cookie ever!  Well, the last one I had was too, but still.
After eating the cookie with a small glass of milk, my mother insisted that I brush my teeth.  Normally, I would have balked at such a suggestion.  Cookie mouth is to be savored, not cleaned away with nasty mint.  However, we just got a new electric toothbrush and I was excited to go solo on it.  The night before, my mother brushed my teeth with it.  It tickled and I spit toothpaste down my shirt.  Today, I was going to do it on my own like my big brother got to.
A few minutes later, my mother heard the toilet flushing.  The first bowlful seemed normal enough, but the second and third caught her attention.  She rushed up to the bathroom to find me dropping another head of the electric toothbrush into the toilet.
"What are you doing?" she yelled.  "Are you crazy?" I snapped my head around in a start.  The toothbrush was not plugged in, so it did not work when I tried to use it.  I carefully reasoned that it was dead, just like my goldfish.  When it died, we did the same thing, so I simply told her what my father told me.
"We're a Navy family, mom.  When a sailor dies, you bury them at sea!"

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