Toothbrushes, Spiders, and Other Writing Revelations

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ImageLast night as I was drying my hair, a small spider scurried across my bathroom counter. I wasn’t afraid of the spider, but when he decided to hide in my toothbrush holder my mind went into overdrive.

I dumped the little guy into the toilet and watched him swim for his life. He actually managed to climb halfway up the bowl before I flushed him. (I’m a twisted human being, what can I say?) Then I returned my focus to the toothbrush that was nearly infected by spider-carrying, flesh-eating germs. Even though the spider did not come near the bristles, I ran it under scalding hot water for several minutes just to be sure it was clean.

I returned the brush to its holder and pondered whether or not I had done enough. Was it possible that the water wasn’t hot enough to kill the deadly virus? Could other spiders be playing hide-and-seek in my toothbrush holder (or worse yet the toothbrush bristles) when I’m at work?  And what if they laid eggs in there…eww, I didn’t even want to think about that! But, my mind has a mind of its own and went there anyway. I imagined my stomach hatching millions of tiny baby spiders who each carry the same flesh-eating germs their vile mother had. It was a crafty, calculated move on the part of the mother spider, but she got what she deserved…a slow death and a resting place among the sewage.

I tried to remember how long I’d had this particular toothbrush. I’m sure it’s been several months at least. I pictured myself brushing my teeth with it every morning and every evening for the past 60 plus days. That’s at least 120 times I’ve put that toothbrush in my mouth, scrubbed plaque and trapped food from each tooth, ran it under cold water, and then returned it to the holder where it was later covered in deadly spiders who laid their eggs in the bristles. I was totally disgusted, not only with how germ-infested my toothbrush was, but by the fact that I never once thought to sterilize it.

I grabbed my iPad and did a quick search for “disgusting bacteria that lives in your toothbrush.” Did you know that the mouth carries more bacteria than anywhere else in your body? Yes…even there! And guess what else? Bacteria grows in moisture, coincidentally just like your freshly used toothbrush. And then if you factor in the small particles of pot roast that still remains in the bristles, you’ve got a breeding ground for salmonella and other food-borne illnesses. Are you grossed out yet?

I popped an extra dose of my anxiety meds and continued reading. Did you know that if your toothbrush is within two feet of your toilet, there’s a 75% chance that during the flushing process, particles of the toilet’s contents could actually become airborne and stick to your toothbrush? Then it turns into e-coli and yet you still stick that nasty thing in your mouth.

I found these tips for preventing a flesh-eating deadly toothbrush virus:

  • After you are done brushing, make sure you run your toothbrush under very hot water while you flick the bristles around to dislodge the pieces of bologna leftover from your lunch.
  • You should soak it overnight in an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a week.
  • You can also put your toothbrush in a glass of water and microwave it for two minutes, or wash it in the top rack of your dishwasher once every couple of weeks.
  • Never place a cover over a wet toothbrush, it will breed bacteria
  • Stand your toothbrush with the bristles up to let it dry.
  • For goodness sake, move your toilet away from your toothbrush!

These tips will save your life and allow you to live long enough for your children to send you to a nursing home one day. Just make sure they find a home for you that sanitize their guests toothbrushes. You’re welcome.

Now, having said all that I have to tell you this blog really had nothing to do with my toothbrush, or even how sanitary it is. This real point of this blog is to demonstrate how ADD I truly am.

My plan last night after my hair was dried was to try to get some writing done on my novel; however instead the sight of a tiny spider took me in 20 different directions and wasted an hour of my writing time. While this is a very frustrating disorder to manage, I believe it is also what makes me a good fantasy writer. Once I actually get semi-focused on my writing, my ADD takes off within my story and suddenly a character who I had just planned on walking to the shed to retrieve a plow, now encounters a small twister that grows into a full-blown tornado and as the crops are all being uprooted a strange creature emerges from the soil! My mind literally takes over the story as my fingers struggle to keep up.

The key for me is to come up with a balance; a way to control my mind enough to actually sit down and focus on my writing, while allowing this disorder to craft my story at the same time. I know by now you’re probably asking yourself, “Why doesn’t she just see a doctor and get a prescription for ADD medication?” Really good question, thanks for asking it. I plan on doing that soon. Actually, I meant to call and schedule an appointment last week, but as I reached for my phone a tiny spider scurried by…

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