“On the whole I prefer my own fingers in my mouth as opposed to those of a stranger.” That’s what my dad said, when I asked him about the strange looking metal tool on his desk. That was about twenty years ago. The device was a dental pick and is used to clean off layers of dental plaque and tartar that develop on our teeth. As an adult I have one on my desk at home and one in my car. As a food delivery worker I sometimes have to wait for orders at various restaurants, and use my time wisely by studying for my college classes and removing remnants of food stuck between my teeth.
I don’t advise driving while picking your teeth. One time I got my pick lodged in a little nook and cranny between two molars (lower left side). I stopped to pick up an order and one of the waiters brought out several bags of vittles. He just looked and looked at me, so I finally said, “I need to take my temperature . . . no nothing serious . . . just a precaution.” Actually, it came out “Ineetotakem tempra sure . . . know nothing savorious . . . mjustacaution.” The guy just backed away and said, “Whatever . . . just so no one complains.” There were never any complaints. It’s good to be cute. I kept handy-wipes close by and I got really quick with the pick.
Last weekend I had a problem . . . a dangerous problem. It was a beautiful afternoon, I don’t know where everyone else was, but I was taking a leisurely tour on the Five-Mile drive in a local park. It was pleasantly warm and I had my driver’s side window open. I had a stop sign ahead, so I slowed down even further and stopped at the sign. Out of nowhere a hand reached through my window and grabbed my steering wheel. Behind my head I felt something cold on my neck. Without looking around I just sat there. I could smell a leather coat even with almost an over-powering reek of alcohol. He spoke, “Just turn the car off and give me the keys and you won’t get hurt.” I took a deep breath and said, “No.”
I gathered up my courage and said, “Please, don’t hurt me . . . and I won’t hurt you . . . just look down at your wrist.” I could feel a slight pulling away and then he just froze. I explained, “You are looking at an ultra sharp, Sheffield steel, dental pick, with the point just a centimeter from your veins and arteries that I can rip through in a millisecond.” I could hear his friends run away into the woods. “I have my foot on the brake. I am going to take my foot off the brake and you are going to walk along with the car.” I took my foot off the brake and gave the car just enough gas to more forward and make my prisoner stumble and worry. “I want you to reach into whatever pocket you have and come up with your wallet and ID and hand them to me.” He got the word “please” out before he had to stumble and cry . . . real tears. He dropped his wallet into my lap just before I stomped on the gas and shot away. I can still remember his breath and the stench of urine.
I gave the wallet and my story to the Park Police. I’m pretty sure the wallet belonged to someone else. I never had to pick out a suspect from a line-up, but thanks to my dental pick, I saved myself and perhaps scared the poor dweeb enough to go straight.
Perhaps, I should have a little leather holster made for it. Maybe, I’ll keep it in my purse, so I always have protection.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.