It’s amazing how much toothpaste there is in a tube. Remember when toothpaste tubes were made of lead and we rolled them up to squeeze the last globule out of there? We used to use the empty tubes as weights in model aircraft or boats. Like everything else nowadays, the tubes are made of plastic, and, although rolling your tube is not an option, there are other ways of squeezing those last few blobs out of there. If you’re diligent enough, and you know what you’re doing, you can get weeks of brushing from a tube that looks entirely empty.

This morning I finally gave up on our latest tube and broke out a new one. Imagine my surprise when I discovered shiny green paste oozing out. My first thought was that this was a special edition manufactured in recognition of St Patrick, but then I dismissed this idea as frivolous and unrealistic. The paste is called “Smooth Mint**.” I can only suppose the unusual colour is intended to reinforce this notion.

Our last tube provided striped paste in the French colours: blue, white and red. How they do that is a mystery, and frankly, I’d rather not find out. I love the idea that the manufacturing process incorporates some arcane magical spell to delight us at brushing time, twice each day. Mind you, the tube before that produced red, white and blue stripes. I can only suppose that a massive logistical meltdown caused the inadvertent diversion to these shores of a consignment destined for England.

God only knows what we’d ever find to talk about in our house if all toothpaste was plain white.

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