I stand in the pharmacy aisle, looking for toothpaste. You’re standing in front of one of the shelves and I am annoyed because I think that you are directly in front of the toothpaste, and I am standing next to the chap stick. I need for you to move, but I can’t really ask you to when you’re actually looking to buy it.

Actually, it doesn’t even actually bother me very much that you’re in my way at the moment. The problem is that you take so long to do it. I could walk up, select a toothpaste, almost at random, and be done in about 5 seconds. Even if I had a major brand or taste preference, or if I was looking for the cheapest one, a more intensive examination would only take perhaps another 10 seconds. There is no reason that you should spend over a minute picking out toothpaste. Does you even have such a preference? Is your search for exactly what you want really taking this long? The store carries several brands, flavors and formulas. It should have something to satisfy you.

Perhaps your dentist, as part of his stereotypical dentist cruelty, gave you a very specific recommendation. Perhaps there is only one type of toothpaste that will keep your teeth from hollowing out and shattering inside your head. This is why your search is so thorough. You check and double check each product to make sure you purchase the only one that can save you from a future of oral anguish.

Or maybe you were in a philosophical mood when you came grocery shopping. Maybe the sight of the toothpaste aisle inspired you along a train of thought about the phenomenon known as “toothpaste.”

“What did our earliest ancestors use for toothpaste?” you wonder, “This can’t be a product too necessary for life. That’s a pretty piss-poor job of evolution if a creature can’t even keep its own teeth from rotting out of its head without having to rub some shit on them.”

Then you realize our earliest ancestors were considered lucky to make it to 40. You also realize that our earliest ancestors ate pretty terrible food like rotten berries off the ground and tiny hard potatoes someone dug out of some random field and almost-raw meat without any seasoning or A1 sauce. You realize how much of our food today is pre-processed, most likely with all kinds of terrible chemicals that rot your teeth, or at least just lots of sugar. This drives you, perhaps, to a crushing depression and despairing thoughts about the trajectory of the human race. On the other hand, maybe it makes you think that you really want some potato chips. That’s why it takes so long for you to pick out your toothpaste. Because you’re depressed and wondering where the snack aisle is (but let’s be honest. You know. You know it better than any other aisle).

Or maybe, somehow, you were never told about dental hygiene as a child. Then today you took a wrong turn trying to find out whether canned tomatoes are with the “canned fruits” or the “canned vegetables” and got distracted wondering why the hell they separated the two into different aisles in the first place. Suddenly, you found yourself in the pharmacy aisle. Curious about what is actually in the pharmacy aisle (because really, who ever goes to the pharmacy aisle?), you walk down it and are stunned to realize that someone is making paste for your teeth.

Paste for your teeth? So they’ll get stuck together? No, dumbass, it’s toothpaste, the stuff dentists tell us to rub on our teeth with a brush six times a day to keep them clean. What the hell? You were only told about the most basic aspects of hygiene like deodorant, soap, shampoo and razors! Nobody told you that you were supposed to brush your teeth! I can understand why you stand there staring at the aisle in shock. It’s a terrible thing when you find out that literally everyone in the world knows something you never did. That kind of shock could kill someone!

Eventually, though, you regather your wits and make your purchase. I steal a glance at what you just bought. As far as I can tell, it’s nothing special. Colgate Whitening with Advanced Tartar Protection. Cool Mint Flavor. I pick the same one.