Brushing Teeth 4/30/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

This morning, I brushed my teeth. Okay, I know, it doesn’t seem like a very interesting blog topic, but for the second day in a row I could brush my teeth in the upstairs bathroom.

I think I wrote a blog about this a couple of days ago. I finally managed to clear my very clogged up sink upstairs. The other facilities worked, but not the sink (which I had to completely disassemble to find the plastic plug blocking it). In the morning, I would use the upstairs bathroom to take care of urgent business after a long night’s sleep, but I had to go downstairs to actually wash my hands. Now life is just so much easier, which, honestly, is the point of today’s post.

There are so many modern-day conveniences that, frankly, we just don’t think about these days. The ability to brush your teeth is one of them, but to be able to do it so close to where we sleep is amazing. It wasn’t that long ago that people couldn’t even go to the bathroom in their own home, and would literally have to go to the outhouse regardless of the weather.

Sounds like one of those “dad” stories. “I used to have to walk a mile to go to the bathroom. In eight feet of snow. Uphill. Both ways.”

Okay, maybe it wasn’t a mile, but it was an inconvenience. And you had to sing. That’s how other people knew the outhouse was occupied so they wouldn’t walk in on you. And here’s a thought to blow your mind; the invention of toilet paper is only about ten years older than my house.

Never will we understand the inconvenience of going to the stream to get buckets of water. It’s just piped directly into our home, the mechanics of which a lot of people don’t even understand. I went to Tower Heights middle school, which was right next to the city water tower. I can tell you that this is the highest plot of land in the entire city because that’s where the water tower was. Have you noticed that these towers are always on hills? Between the height of the hill, and the added height of the tower, water flows down to every other house in the service area by sheer force of gravity. The only pumps used have the function of getting the water up to that tower (and through the filtration process), but after that it’s just gravity.

Although I usually don’t like dropping product names, Ivory from Proctor and Gamble was the first whipped soap product. Have you noticed that usually Ivory bar soap is the cheapest on the market? This is because there is less actual soap in Ivory than other bar soaps, but this is not for a nefarious greed-based scheme. My house IS older than Ivory soap, and back then, it was still common for (sorry, ladies) women to take their clothes to a stream or river to wash them using bar soap. The washing machine was not even invented until 1920, and the problem is that as the soap they were using got wet, it became slippery. If the women dropped the soap (insert your own prison joke here), it would sink and often be lost to the flow of the river. In 1879 Proctor and Gamble introduced Ivory soap which had had enough air whipped into it that it was the first bar soap that floated. It was wildly popular because when it was dropped, it would float and be more easily recoverable.

When was the last time you dropped your washing soap in the river while cleaning your laundry? Of course, you never have, but how often do you think about the convenience of the washing machine? When I was living with my friend Allen, it was a dreadful inconvenience to have to drag my clothes up and down the stairs to the laundry room, and God forbid there were no working machines available, and I had to actually drive it (not walk it…drive it) to the laundromat. Today, I go to the laundry room in my house.

I try very hard to be grateful for the things I have. Yes, I have a washing machine, and I love it. I guess I’m appreciative of having it in my own home without worry of dragging my clothes to it only to find it occupied. But it’s a beautiful convenience. Yes, I still have to fold and put it away, but thank God I don’t have to drag it back, wet, from the river to hang it up to dry.


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