Strange things I think of while brushing my teeth

It’s fascinating how the brain, and in particular, memory works. It’s interesting the way memories form and associate. This is the reason that every living thing is unique, even if they have the same DNA, because since they cannot occupy the same position in space at the same time, they must necessarily have different exposures to their senses, which leads to different experiences.

Something that I find amusing about my own memories is some of the stranger associations I make between disparate things. One thing in particular tends to trigger memories that to other people, without context would seem to be completely unrelated, that thing being brushing my teeth. There are at least two things that I often end up thinking about when I brush my teeth:

  • The People’s Court, Bugs Bunny, and Pornography

    I think it’s safe to assume that this is probably the strangest thing to associate with tooth-brushing, but it makes perfect sense to me.

    One day, a long time ago (much “longer ago” than the previous one), when I somewhere between 6-9 years old (I was still going to King’s Road, so it would have been grade 1-4), I didn’t go to school that morning because I had a dentist appointment around noon. I decided to brush my teeth before leaving. (I can’t recall if I had been brushing normally and wanted to add an extra one or if I’d kept skipping it and tried to cheat by brushing just before the appointment 🤷.)

    While I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth with the door open, I could hear the TV in the living room loud and clear (I don’t know if my mother was actually watching or if she was in the kitchen or something—and now I can never ask her. 😢) While I brushed for what must have been an exceptionally long time, I recall hearing pretty much the whole case. It was about a woman who was suing a video-store because she had rented a Bugs Bunny video for her son’s birthday, put the tape in the VCR in the basement where the kids were having a party, pushed play, then went upstairs, and when she came back down later, she was shocked to find that the video was actually a porno. (Many years later, I’d heard about other cases of people purposely switching tapes, but I think this one was a mistake.)

    If I recall correctly, the judge ended up ruling in her favor (because it was the store’s responsibility to check that the correct tape was returned) and ordered the store pay her some amount I can’t remember. So now, sometimes when I brush, I think of court, Bugs Bunny and porn. Strange combination.

  • The Goa’uld attack during the “Pretense” episode of Stargate SG-1

    A long time ago, I was watching the Stargate SG-1 episode “Pretense” in which SG-1 had to go to trial on the Tollan home-world because the Goa’uld Zipacna (Kevin Durand) was trying to get them to rule to allow the symbiote Klor’el to stay in Skaara’s body. While I was watching the episode, I was flossing my teeth as thoroughly as I could, wary of accidentally pressing too hard and cutting my gums or loosening a tooth. I then paused during the scene in which the Goa’uld began their attack and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and then rinse with mouthwash. Then I continued the episode. Ever since then, I sometimes remember the scene of the Goa’uld ships attacking while I brush and wince about my gums bleeding.

  • Michael’s disability in “The Injury” episode of The Office (US)

    In the 12th episode of season two of the American remake of The Office, Michael has the property-manager, Billy Merchant who uses a wheelchair give a talk to the office about what it’s like to live with a disability and to describe some of the difficulties he has to deal with. He asks how long it takes him to do a simple task like brushing his teeth (which of course, being in a wheelchair has essentially no bearing on other than perhaps reaching the sink), and Billy says it takes him 30 seconds, to which Michael laments that it’s three times what it takes him, causing Jim to squint at the thought that Michael spends only 10 seconds brushing. Sometimes I think of this and wonder how even 30 seconds is enough when it usually takes me at least three times that.

Memories are weird.