I don’t know about you, but brushing my teeth is something I have been doing without assistance for at least fifty years, and at least twice daily. I feel I am pretty proficient. I squeeze the paste onto a soft bristle brush, medium size, swish it under the tap, (turn said tap off due to my long-dead Australian mother whispering ‘don’t waster water’) and begin the soporific exercise of cleaning for minty-mouth freshness. I have, as the toothpaste manufacturers have increased the choice on display in the supermarket aisle, added a pro-enamel, whitening factor to the mix.
I suppose I see myself in the mirror above my sink, but I rarely register my reflected image unless it is to sometimes marvel at the lines marching across my forehead, crinkling my neck and creating a web of life around my eyes. When, I sometimes wonder, did they all appear?
But back to brushing. As I said, I feel I have passed the competency test for this action. I have regular cleanings and check ups and seem, so far, to have no major issues for which I am very grateful.
So when I read an article in the Houston Chronicle this morning written by Rene Lynch (LA Times) entitled, High-tech gadgets for more healthful home, I was intrigued, and a little irritated. The latter due to the use of the word ‘healthful’. The OED defines it as ‘promoting a bodily or spiritual health’ so yes it was used correctly, but really it is such an ugly word, both to look at and to say. And as I’m on the warpath, shouldn’t that read High-tech gadgets for a more healthful home or High-tech gadgets for more healthful homes?
Anyway, along with a couple of other gadgets I have no idea how I have survived without, such as a Withings Aura pad that one pops under the mattress. For a mere $299.95 it will analyze my sleep and in turn jump-start the release of melatonin, thereby easing me into a “light sleep phase” before actually waking me. Marley, my cat, does that by initially softly tapping my face, then more vociferously nibbling my toes. It is most effective.
Did you know children’s beds are about to become smarter too? You can be alerted when a child gets out of bed (yes, in case of kidnap I can see the benefit) but the app also includes a checklist for bedtime. Really? I thought that’s what parents were for.
There was one device I thought rather clever at first. Developed by Honeywell and called the Genesis Touch, it connects care providers with patients. I was on board with the idea it could help with longer independent living for an aging population, but the promise it would improve ‘patient compliance and healthful behaviors’ changed my mind. Much, much too bossy, and there’s that word ‘healthful’ again. So no, I’m not getting one of those.
The real zinger for me though, was the Oral-B Bluetooth toothbrush. If I were to purchase this for $219, it would tell me the weather and the news as well as monitor my brushing habits. If I am a little lax, or too rough one morning, due no doubt to my Aura pad not waking me gently enough, an alarm will sound. Frankly I’d rather look out of the window to check the weather, and the news is depressing enough to read, or hear with my breakfast, let alone when I am brushing my teeth.
I am left with the realisation I am going to enter the next phase of my life as a low-tech, gadget-free woman. But all was not lost because ‘bluetooth toothbrush’ tickled my gums and sent me to Google. Did you know Harald Bluetooth (Blaatand), second king of Denmark in the 10th century famously united Scandinavia? From there it was a short leap for the techies and marketing gurus to borrow his name and use it “to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link”.
And now, I must go and brush my teeth, the old fashioned way.