This week I kicked off my Tuesday with an hour at the dentist. (I know, I know, you’re tired of all the best stories you read starting exactly this way.)
I love my hygienist, and have been with her for a long time. She knows I love her, because I’ve sent a ton of people her way. If my dentist had a referral program, I’d have free toothbrushes and tooth scrapings coming out my ears. (That’s the last time I’ll use the word scrape, I promise.)
When I got there on Tuesday, she asked if I had any issues with my teeth. Just the same old ones, I told her. (Because I know you’re dying of curiosity here, the issues go back to me having braces as a kid. I had them put on when I was in third grade, and taken off when I was in sixth. This was awesome in many ways. But as a third grader, I didn’t do a terrific job of using my floss threaders and scrubbing around my brackets, and you probably can’t tell but my hygienist and I can. That’s probably too much information.)
My hygienist listened and nodded, and then we were ready to get started. She reached for her roll of dental floss and unspooled the single longest piece I’ve ever seen, not counting the time when I found one of the kids delightfully unraveling a new roll on the bathroom floor. I was a little scared, and asked if my teeth were really that bad.
What, this? she said. This is normal. Nobody likes to floss, and that includes me, and I learned a long time ago that a loooooong piece of dental floss makes the job easier.
Reader, I don’t think “stingy” is a key character trait for me, but I am stingy with my dental floss. I treat it like a game I’m trying to win, a precious commodity I’m hoarding—how little can I get by with today? And guess what: I hate flossing. It’s awkward and a little gross. But I never noticed the obvious: that dreaded task would be easier if I unspooled an extra six inches. It might be a whole lot easier if I used an extra twelve like my hygienist.
Of course I wanted to explain all this to her, but that’s a little hard to do when you’re the one in the chair with the tools in your mouth. (I’m amazed at how much she can understand me when I tell her things in dentist-speak, but my quantity of words is limited!)
And so I’m telling you instead: it’s not hard to unroll some extra floss. It costs almost nothing—I mean, I just bought a hundred-yard roll at the grocery store for a dollar. Why have I not been making this dreaded job easier the whole time?
Readers, I’d love to hear: don’t feel compelled to tell me the intimate details of your oral hygiene routine, but do YOU use a lavish length of dental floss? And here’s what I REALLY want to know: what simple tips and tricks have made the hard things in your life easier, in practice or in attitude? Dental floss is my example today, but I’m sure you have dozens of similar tidbits to share. Tell us about them in comments?