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by M. Clark

I have a policy against things that are supposed to be new and supposed to make my life easier, because most of the time, instead of making my life easier, they usually make it more complicated.

Remember when call waiting was the new big thing? You were never going to have to miss another call because you’d get a beep in your ear when there was another person calling.

It took me all of one call to hate call waiting. A friend calls me, and then during the call says, “Can you hold on a minute. I’ve got another call.”

Well, no, I can’t hold on while you talk to someone else. You called me, remember?

For some time, there has been an evolution of shower knobs. I live in an older house, and the shower is easy to operate. There’s a knob for hot water and a knob for cold water. You turn on a little of each and you have yourself a nice shower.

But I also spend a lot of time in hotel rooms, and hotel room showers can be difficult to figure out. Usually, there’s only one knob and no real direction on how to position it to get the right proportion of hot and cold water.

Just last week, I had a first in the shower. You turned the knob to turn the water on. You pushed it in to get more hot water. You pulled it out to get more cold water. My fingers were pruned by the time I figured it all out.

But the one “new and improved” product that really got my attention last week was toothpaste. Normally, I buy the same kind of toothpaste all the time. It comes in the same red box and I go into the store, pick up the box, pay for it and go home.

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Last week, I did just that. But when I got home, I realized I didn’t have a tube of toothpaste. This container had a little button on the top. You press that and toothpaste comes out.

Do we really need this? Was toothpaste so hard to get out of the tube?

Perhaps it was. Apparently, there are two ways to get toothpaste out of a tube. One is to squeeze the tube in a random manner so that enough toothpaste come out on the brush to brush your teeth.

The other is to squeeze the tube starting at the bottom. As part of the tube becomes empty, you roll that part neatly toward the top of tube.

I’m a random squeezer. Maybe I’m just a rebel. I know it says right on the tube, “For best results, squeeze from the bottom.” But I feel like my teeth are just as clean as yours are, no matter how you squeeze the tube.

“But squeezing from the bottom and rolling up the tube, lets you get all of the toothpaste out of the tube,” a friend said.

Maybe. But I think I get most of the paste out of the tube my way. And so what if there’s four cents worth of toothpaste left in the tube. That comes out to about 20 cents a year, which will make a nice down payment on a vacation home in the Virgin Islands.

Either way you roll the tube, I still think it’s the best way to get toothpaste. You can keep your push-button pump.

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