September 1999 – Sincerely Sire Newsletter

Who Put the Toothbrush in the Glass on the Sink?

Just before Rosemarie and I left for three days of R&R last month to Palm Desert, I asked Roe if she had packed her toothbrush. (She always forgets her toothbrush.) "Yes," she said, annoyed that I would ask her, "I remembered my toothbrush."

"Okay," I said. "Sorry, it’s just that you always forget your toothbrush and then you want to use mine."

After checking into the hotel and making our way up to our room, I flopped down on the bed and listened to Roe unpacking her stuff in the bathroom. (The first thing Roe always does when checking into a hotel is to completely unpack and put everything away, whereas I work out of my suitcase.) After twenty-five years of marriage I knew what was coming next. "Honey," she said, "I can’t seem to locate my toothbrush, may I use yours?"

"No," I said, "you may not use my toothbrush. I asked you right before we left and you said you had packed your toothbrush, remember?"

"Okay, forget it," she said, "I won’t brush my teeth."

Later, as I was standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth with my toothbrush that was in the glass on the sink, I thought about Roe not brushing her teeth for three days—I went down to the lobby and purchased her a new toothbrush and brought it up to her. "Use it," I said.

The next morning I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth, but noticed that my toothbrush, mysteriously, was in the wastebasket. I couldn’t figure out why it was in the trash. "Honey, did you throw my toothbrush in the trash?"

"Oh, was that your toothbrush?" she answered innocently.—Turns out, Roe, who just loves to throw stuff away, had thrown my toothbrush in the trash, because she thought I had found her old toothbrush and put it in the glass on the sink (our toothbrushes are identical) when, in fact, it was my toothbrush in the glass from when I had used it the day before, and don’t ask me why she assumed I had found her toothbrush and put it in the glass. So, now, we still only had one toothbrush because Roe had thrown my toothbrush in the trash because she thought it was her old toothbrush (which she hadn’t brought in the first place) which I had replaced with a new toothbrush, when in fact, it was my toothbrush in the glass which was now in the trash.

I carefully considered my options: I could either use her new toothbrush, which she had already used, or I could take my toothbrush out of the trash and use it. Neither was very appealing, so I went down to the lobby and purchased another toothbrush, and at the same time, remembering that I had forgotten my swim trunks, purchased a new pair (the same color and style as my old ones so that Roe wouldn’t know that I had forgotten to bring them).

After arriving home, we both started unpacking. I opened my bathroom kit, and there, inexplicably, was my old toothbrush. How could this be? "Did you take my toothbrush out of the trash and put it in my bathroom kit?" I asked her.

She told me she hadn’t, and that, in fact, that probably was my toothbrush in my kit, and that I had been using her toothbrush all along. "My toothbrush, had a loose bristle on it," she said. "It stuck out further than the other bristles and bothered me when I brushed my teeth. That’s why I wanted to throw it away. Did the one you used have a bristle on it that stuck out?"

I thought for a moment, and then remembered a loose bristle sticking me in the gums when I used it—I had used her toothbrush that first day. So, what I had rightfully assumed (since Roe had told me she couldn’t find her toothbrush) was my toothbrush in the glass on the counter, was really Roe’s toothbrush, and my toothbrush never made it out of my bathroom kit. But what I still can’t figure out is this: Who initially put Roe’s toothbrush in the glass on the counter? Roe emphatically denies that it was her and I know it wasn’t me. Like I said, I never unpack. It was there, in the glass, the very first time I set foot in the bathroom.

Roe had to have put it there while she was unpacking, and then apparently forgotten that she had done it, and subsequently asked me if she could use my toothbrush, making me think that the toothbrush in the glass was my toothbrush from my bathroom kit, when really it was her toothbrush. Either that, or she was deliberately trying to drive me crazy.

"How in the world could you possibly bring your toothbrush and then forget that you brought it? I asked her. "Sometimes you are such an airhead."

As I finished emptying my suitcase I discovered, much to my surprise, that it contained not one, but two pairs of men’s swim trunks—my new ones and my old ones. Oops—I won’t tell if you don’t. ¯

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