Last night, I had a full-on, knock-down, drag-out fight with the toothpaste cap.
That’s a weird statement, I know, so let me give some context.
I have a disability called cerebral palsy, which affects my fine motor skills. This means I don’t do well handling small objects like toothpaste screw caps.
I prefer toothpaste tubes that use flip-top caps. I can flip them open and closed with ease, and the cap stays attached to the tube. Flip caps are a godsend to someone like me who has trouble screwing on a cap.
I’ve heard some people say flip caps are unsanitary. (Because over time, residue toothpaste gets wedged into the cap.) Hey, if someone prefers a screw cap, I’m not going to rain on their parade. But for me, flip caps make the everyday task of brushing my teeth so much easier.
When my wife Diana goes to the store, she tries to get the flip cap tubes of toothpaste.
This is more of a challenge than you might think. For some reason, cap information is not always divulged on the toothpaste box. You figure right next to the Cavity Protection logo they can add the words Screw Cap! or Flip Cap! But apparently, the toothpaste companies like keeping their cards close to them.
Diana will usually discreetly open one of the boxes to check for the flip cap before adding it to her cart. But on this last trip to the store, given our current social distancing situation, she decided that may not be the best idea. So we now have two tubes of toothpaste in our bathroom that happen to have screw caps. (I guess the toothpaste gods weren’t smiling down on me that day.)
Honestly, this is not the end of the world. It’s a minor inconvenience at worst.
Diana and I usually brush our teeth at the same time, so she can take the toothpaste cap on and off for both of us. But last night, I was immersed in reading when Diana was getting ready for bed. She asked me if I wanted to brush my teeth. I told her I would do it later.
“Are you sure?” she responded. (She knows I’ve been trying to be extra careful about my teeth lately since routine dental checks are being delayed.)
I assured her I would do it later. Then she went to bed.
About an hour later, I figured I would head to bed, too. But first, there was the matter of brushing my teeth.
I thought about skipping it.
No, I should really do it… Even if it means facing the dreaded screw cap.
So I headed into the bathroom, ready to face the enemy.
Screwing the cap off is pretty easy. I can press down on the tube with one hand for leverage while unscrewing the cap with the other.
After taking the cap off quickly, I thought maybe this time wouldn’t be such a battle.
Mistake #1: Never get cocky in front of a tube of toothpaste.
After brushing my teeth, it was time to put the cap back on.
I assume the “right way” to put a cap back on is to pick it up between your thumb and index finger and then screw it onto the tube. I’m unable to do this. Instead, I grip the cap with just my index finger. (Imagine curling your finger around the cap and holding it like that.)
Once I had a good grip of the cap, I placed it on the tube. Miraculously, I achieved this feat on the first try! But then when I tried to twist it closed, I lost control and knocked it off the tube.
I did the “one-finger pickup” strategy again. The same thing happened. As I tried to screw the cap on, it fell off and bounced around in the sink.
I must have tried it about a dozen times.
A few times, I dropped the cap on the floor. (Now that’s unsanitary!) So I had to search around on the floor for it. Once I picked it up, I washed it in the sink. This made the cap slippery and even harder to grip.
I thought about taking a half-victory and leaving the cap on the tube, not completely closed.
But no. Not tonight. Not after so much time spent on this task. Only one victor could emerge. It was either me or the toothpaste cap.
With one final war cry, I took hold of the cap, jammed it onto the tube, and twisted it tightly shut.
I stood there for a moment, gazing at the inanimate tube of toothpaste, half proud, half amazed I was able to do it. It was a formidable competitor.
Then I shut off the bathroom light and went into my bedroom, exhausted. As I crawled into bed, Diana stirred and said, “Everything okay?”
“I really hate that toothpaste,” I replied.