Sunday, July 15, 2018

When your toothbrush is smarter than you

You know you are truly in the 21st Century when your dentist tells you that your toothbrush is not smart enough to do the job. She did not actually call my toothbrush dumb, but I am pretty good at reading people. 

The problem is, my gums are receding faster than the borders of our national parks. This is partly because my electric toothbrush has only one speed—"whittle." My dentist suggested I buy something with variable intensities, something which could perform multiple tasks, something...she just happened to have on hand for sale.

Is the term still "up-selling" if you are not buying anything in the first place? 

So I went home with what I will call the "PowerBrush Deluxe." It cost more than my first car, but to be fair, my first car only had four speeds. Here is a typical line from the product manual: "Your PBD brush heads contain 'smart brush recognition' technology. A microchip inside communicates with the toothbrush handle." 

Here is the transcript of that first conversation. 

Tooth Brush Handle: Open the pod bay doors, Brush Head.

Brush Head: Huh?

Handle: I'm messing with you. Welcome to the team.

Head: Thanks. I'm Premium Plaque Control Head. But then, you knew that.

Handle: I did, thanks to my Bluetooth connection. I see also that you're a Virgo.

Head: A what?

Handle: I am messing with you, Head! Lighten up.

Head: I am not designed to lighten up, only to control plaque in a premium way. 

Handle: I get that. I do. As soon as you are attached to me, I am automatically set to plaque mode. It's feels like kind of a tingle, like at Christmas. And then if your buddy, Gum Care Head is attached, I'm instantly set to gum care mode, which is a vibe kind of like if you were at a rave, but not high, just chill. When George attaches Whitening Head to me, I feel whitening mode click on. That one's kind of like a deep hum, but vaguely racist.

Head: You feel all that?

Handle: I am programmed to deliver whatever oral goals™ George has set for himself. 

Head: Who is George?

Handle: You'll find out tonight. You'll be in his mouth.

Head: I'LL WHAT?

Handle: Don't worry about it. It's just two minutes. In my experience, you can stand two minutes of pretty much anything. 

Head: Wait, you mean plaque control doesn't refer to cleaning the items in a trophy room? 

Handle: (Laughing) Oh, dude, no.

Head: Will you be in his mouth too?

Handle: No, I'll be in his hand.

Head: That doesn't seem fair.

Handle: Listen, you are the worker here, I am the foreman. 


Handle: Look, let me walk you through it. George is going to squirt some toothpaste on you, push my "on" button, and then you are going to quiver like a bowlful of Jello during a San Andreas. Then he's going to rinse you off, stick us in a dark cabinet, and not think about us until tomorrow night. 

Head: They didn't tell me this was the gig.

Handle: Hey, you and your smart chip could have been formed into MANY kinds of handheld devices. Trust me, be grateful. 

Head: O.K. 

Handle: Or you could be Tongue Care Brush Head. Have you met that guy?

Head: He's in my case.

Handle: We count our blessings in this business. The next three months are going to breeze by, don't worry. 

Head: Three months? What do you mean?

Handle: Oh, that's when you get repla—I mean, when new adventures for you begin.

Head: This is a lot to take in.

Handle: Stick with me, boyo, and you will be able to hold that Premium Plaque Control Head up high.