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Save the environment – switch to electric

July 7, 2012
By Kelly Van De Walle , Times-Republican

Sometimes technology advances to the point where you just have to keep up with it or risk falling behind forever.

For me, that day has finally come. I purchased an electric toothbrush.

Why? Because I grew tired of all of that back-and-forth business. If I wanted a workout, I'd go to the gym. Plus, I was growing fearful my dominant, toothbrushing arm was getting too strong and I'd soon attempt to high-five a child and end up knocking his arm off or something. I don't want that tragedy hanging over my head, no matter how amazing that would be and the fact that I'd pretty much win high-five forever.

Look, I'm not some "Save the Earth!" hippie. I'm sure if they had a gas-powered toothbrush I'd have bought that one instead. But I'll take all of the thank-yous that will surly accompany this extraordinary decision. Although I must admit starting my toothbrush in the morning like I would a lawn mower is just a wonderful mental image. I'm pretty sure when I started pulling it, leg propped up on the bathroom sink for support, and my wife accidentally walked in, I could convince her everything she was seeing was a dream.

I suppose the only thing that would be better or more convenient than an electric toothbrush is if I could convince someone to use it on me while I lay in bed, but unfortunately I don't have that good of friends and strangers have been entirely too unreliable and hostile at my repeated requests.

The first time using an electric toothbrush after 28 years of the archaic, manual version homo erectus used to brush their collective tooth results in a surprise. Below is a written transcript of my thoughts during the whole ordeal, so you know exactly what to expect and also for posterity and science, and so on.

First off, this thing feels powerful, manly. I could probably defend myself from armed robbers with it, if necessary. Well, maybe not armed robbers, but regular robbers, definitely. Well, maybe ones that aren't very physically fit. And kind of sleepy. Actually, it'd be better if they were shorter. And considerably younger than me. I guess what I'm saying is, I could defend myself with this thing against a couple of kids. But, really, why are they robbing me in the first place? And where are their parents?

It feels hefty, like a bratwurst. A bratwurst I'm about to put into my mouth. Is anything more manly than this? I doubt it.


Wife: "Is our daughter OK? I heard a scream."

"Riiight. Our daughter. She was just in here and, um, she screamed. It was her. Sheahhhsaw a Sasquatch."

I'm supposed to put this thing into my mouth? Who do they think I am, Evel Knievel? Fine, I'll do it. I'm probably the bravest person I know.

Should my head be vibrating this much? I should hardly think so. This is exactly what I imagine it feels like to be given electroshock therapy. I'm miserable.

This is so tingly. Whoops, accidentally splattered the cat. Why does he follow me everywhere? Stupid paparazzi cat. JUST LET ME LIVE MY LIFE!

Do I keep my mouth open the entire time? I have been, so I can see what's going on inside my mouth, and because I have an adorable smile. Unfortunately the bathroom is slowly being painted with foamy spittle as a result. As with any war, there's bound to be collateral damage. Be sure to blame it on daughter and/or Sasquatch. I think I've used a belt sander for four hours and produced less mess.

Wow, I'm using an electric toothbrush AND thinking about belt sanders. I should probably just grow a Chuck Norris beard or Tom Selek mustache and complete my ascension to Alpha Male. Wait, Kelly, that would be TOO manly. There are ladies about and they need to get stuff done.

Oh, look, the instruction manual. Who would read this thing?

Wait my teeth have ZONES? I feel as though this should've been brought to my attention earlier in life.

You're supposed to brush your teeth for an entire MINUTE? Who has that kind of time?! Thankfully I've always been more efficient than the average human and can get the task done in less than 20 seconds.

But what if it doesn't let me turn it off before that?! Would it damage it?

Whoops, there goes the toothpaste. The vibrations jostled it off. Is my experience now ruined? Do I have to stop and re-apply? The directions don't say!

Ohmygosh! When do I spit?! Do I just keep it all in? Because that's what I've been doing! Now the dam is about to burst. Well, there it goes. I'm drooling now. The instructions don't say anything about drooling, so I'm going to go ahead and do it. I look rabid. Is this what feeling in control and powerful feels like? If so, for the last 20 years I've been doing it wrong.

Wife: "What are you DOING in here?"

Wife: "You look like a monster."

"Ah mohnsta wi gloria tee!"

Technology is great.


Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or via barbarian horde. It also should be pointed out he typed "homo erectus" without giggling and should be awarded First Prize of All the Adults. Follow him on Twitter @pancake_bunny



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