With The Fix only a few days old, I’ve already been asked several times what the blogs written by Josh, the central character, are actually like.
There was a time between drafts – I can’t remember which drafts, but it was early – when I thought I might have Josh blogging during the novel, and include the blogs in break-out boxes. Soon enough, though, I realised I had plenty of story to deal with, and that was where my attention, and readers’ time, might be better spent. But half a blog had made it through a couple of drafts before I decided it too perhaps didn’t pay its way.
I rehearsed for the role of Josh (Josh the blogger at least) two years ago while guest blogging on the Random House Australia site, and tried a version of half of one of his blogs out there. Josh refers to his 273 words* on toothbrushes on page 125 of the published novel. So, without further ado, and without finishing the job by grappling with the timeless mystery of how the stripes get into stripy toothpaste**, here those words are:
How much of a toothbrush is marketing, and how much of it actually cleans your teeth? In a world in which recent credible research has ranked the toothbrush just slightly behind chewing on a stick as a means of ensuring dental hygiene, are we really getting what we’re paying for? This thought struck me the other day as I was standing in front of a phalanx of supermarket toothbrush choices with price tags at the deluxe end hitting seven bucks. Do I need my toothbrush swivel-headed, with two bristle types and a tongue scraper? What happened in the old days? Did tongues just silt up and fill your mouth with a wad of dead skin cells and toast crumbs?’
Do I need to put a dollar into the new contoured chubby grip as well? Where is the evidence supporting the chubby grip? All over the tooth-brushing world have we been klutzing it up, taking teeth out, driving the brush head through our cheeks because we had a dodgy grip on a piece of thin plastic? Do we really need chubby-grip comfort? How long are we taking to clean our teeth if the old brush was causing us calluses? What kind of force do we need to cushion? This isn’t a jackhammer we’re talking about, or even a cricket bat.
In the years after DuPont first updated the old-school brush in 1938 by inventing nylon, turning it into bristles and fitting them into a plastic handle, the toothbrush seemed to be set. Then someone worked out that a brush like that should still cost only about thirty cents, and a whole lot of cash was wrongly getting lodged in people’s pockets when it could be on its way to the coffers of the toothbrush multinationals.
(*In fact it’s a couple more, since that was a different draft, ie, while this blog and I welcome the company and attention of pendants, don’t feel the need to word count and call me …)
(** there’s no grappling any more – wikipedia gives this one up in a flash. Is there no scope for mystery left in the world?)