The Perfect Toothbrush

While visiting Santa Rosa recently the whole group went to a local bookstore, and, even though I have a Wishlist full of books at Amazon to read, I couldn’t resist browsing through the poetry shelf, knowing full well my addiction would never allow me to leave the store without buying at least one book. Hey, what’s retirement for if not to read everything you’ve ever wanted to read.

I knew when I looked at the cover

Book Cover

that Padgett’s How to Be Perfect must have been written especially for me. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I’d also been reading cummings and had thoroughly enjoyed the humor of his poems, a quality even too many of my favorite poets lack.

This short poem struck something, hopefully my funny bone:


As the whisk broom
is the child of the ordinary broom,
which is cousin to the janitor’s broom,
I am a toothbrush
when it comes to bristling,
insufficiently angry
or maybe too angry
to keep my bristles intact
since I know the debris
of the world is too great
for me to handle.
If I could save the world
by being crucified
I certainly would.
But who would nail
a toothbrush to a cross?

Sometimes it’s depressing when you see things in their proper perspective, other times it may seen as liberating.

Despite all my aspirations and a lifetime spent trying to improve the world, I doubt I’ve even stopped even a single case of dental decay.