The Tube of Toothpaste

I remember reading once in some magazine, you know the kind… marketed to women, full of advice for life, liberty and the pursuit of mascara that lasts all day and alerts you to the presence of employed, semi-intelligent men within and forty yard radius. ANYWAY, I was reading and there was a survey. I took the survey. It asked if I squeezed the toothpaste from the bottom up, or (and this other option somehow oozed scorn so I just knew it was the option chosen by degenerates and thieves) from the middle of the tube.

I said I squeezed from the bottom, of course. I’m normal. I’m a healthy American girl. I like baseball and apple pie… ok, I don’t like apple pie. I like the idea of apple pie, and I would cook an apple pie for you if you really wanted one and I knew how, but I’m not fond of fruit cooked with sugar. I like my fruit as nice, cold fruit. Raw. Where was I?

Oh yes, I claimed I squeezed bottom to top. In my defence, I thought I did. I really believed that I was a regular gal who carefully pinched from the bottom and diligently mashed out every… last… glob of toothpaste, doing my part to prevent waste and saving pennies for my folks… then later for me.

But it was a lie.

I think it took the ending of my marriage to make me see it (you know how it goes when every last flaw is dragged out for display and makes good cannon fodder for the final volleys over the mast… I’m losing myself in this metaphor so I’m going to stop). I squeeze from the middle and always have. I wrap my hot little hand around the middle, and I just make that fist, and half the paste goes to the bottom, and the other half comes out the top, and I do that until the middle is all crumpled. Then I squeeze from the TOP. Oh, sure. Eventually I have to squeeze from the bottom. I mash it against the counter and force the remaining Crest through the wrinkled, exhausted center, and finally to the top where I must perform the Side Press maneuver, pushing the deceased bottom off to the side, so I can push what remains inside out.

I’m sure you’re thinking I’m going to reveal how all of this discussion was really about something else entirely, like American economic policy or the role of women in the modern Episcopal church. But alas no. It’s just about the tube of toothpaste. The tube I have squeezed out. From the middle. Like the rebel I am. Like the outcast paraiah it makes me. Like a heroine of some dystopian YA novel soon to be made into a movie and badly cast.

It’s how I brush.

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8 Responses to “The Tube of Toothpaste”

  1. Tad Says:

    Although you truly meant for this blog to be about a tube of toothpaste, I couldn’t help but find a larger meaning.
    We, (ok, I), tend to think I do the right thing in life, liberty, etc. Then came along this blog about a tube of toothpaste. As I start to read I’m thinking, I’m a good, hard working, honest, red-blooded, American male. There’s no I would ever squeeze the tube, (life) from the middlen. I contemplated, oh wrong I am. Sure, I try to do the right thing, but in many adventures I’m just selfish and self-absorbed. A tube of toothpaste. Yes, a tube of minty fresh, pale colored past made me look at my inner self. Did I like what I saw? Well, its not all bad. However, I didn’t like that see myself squeeze life from the middle, wasting all the good paste that life has to offer at the bottom of the tube.

    • lizacaruthersblog Says:

      But at the same time… does what is at the bottom really offer that much more than what we can force from the top? And is toothpaste squeezing such a private act anyway, that we must hide our true motivations? I have a headache now…

  2. Katie Says:

    Egad! Squeeze me no deeper meanings! If toothpaste was meant to be squished from the bottom every single time, someone would have engineered a more efficient tube. As long as I get that last smidge of paste out, I’m happy. The problem arises when the other half (ordinarily the best guy in the world) appropriates my tube (yes, we use different toothpastes) and mashes the bottom of the tube until the top is a perfectly proportioned roundel. That means I must decide whether to attempt to keep it that way or mar that perfection by crushing the center again. Guess which I choose.

  3. Wind Dragon Says:

    Liza, I’ve missed reading you. I forgot to sign up for email notifications and, well…. :blush: Off to correct that.

  4. Tammy J Rizzo Says:

    Liza, this was a great post; it reminds me of my father. He never proposed to my mother – the closest he got to an actual proposal was telling her, “Dear, I think you should know, I squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle.”

    He just passed away right before this last Father’s Day; this November would have marked their 50th anniversary.

    I think Mom squeezes from the middle now, too, after all those years.

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