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The Madera Tribune

On riding bikes and brushing teeth

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webmaster | 07/14/12

I was driving on Avenue 16 Friday, and saw the oddest thing. It was a man on a bicycle, and as he pedaled along, he was brushing his teeth. Now, there is nothing wrong with pedaling a bicycle, or brushing one’s teeth, but when one does it simultaneously, and in plain sight on a public thoroughfare it makes the observer wonder whether the pedaling toothbrusher might be a little off-kilter.

There’s nothing wrong with what he was doing. On reflection, I was grateful to him for providing me with a moment’s amusement and more than a few moments of something to think about. But we do observe other people through the prism of our own experiences. If our exeriences are much the same as those of most other people, then when we see somebody doing something differently, or in odd juxtaposition, it makes us immediately pose this question: “Is something wrong with that guy?”

The reason we pose that question, is that when we do things like most other people, we see ourselves as being in the right. And that gives us the comfort of acceptance.

Our moms taught us that. The brushing of teeth was something that one only did in the bathroom, over the sink, mom said over and over again until I got it right. One was not to run with a toothbrush in one’s mouth, because if one fell down, one might ram one’s toothbrush down one’s throat. One did not spit on the floor while brushing one’s teeth. One spit into the sink and washed the spit down the drain.

Mom certainly would not have approved of the brushing one’s teeth while riding a bicycle.

Yet, it doesn’t seem so terrible. Isn’t it better to brush one’s teeth than to have them rot? Isn’t it okay to spit on the street on a hot day, where it will evaporate?

I don’t have a bicycle, so you won’t see me riding one and brushing my teeth any time soon (probably never, if Mrs. Doud has anything to say about it). But if you do see a guy doing that, let him have his fun, along with his clean teeth.


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