Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cheese Graters and Dental Picks

There are some products or items that should only be used with extreme caution and with a full understanding of the ramifications. 

Case in point:  cheese graters.  I've sliced up a finger and two knuckles just this past week alone.  And really, honestly, that's only half the inconvenience.  The other half is trying to find all of the knuckle-skin I've shredded off without letting anybody else know what I'm doing.

You know how it goes:  you're standing in the kitchen, helping your wife make pizzas for the family on a Saturday night and you drag your knuckle over the cheese grater.  Instantly, quickly and easily, a nice hunk of flesh is removed and deposited in the pile of grated cheese.

When that happens, you gasp, grab your bleeding knuckle and try to staunch the flow of blood.  And while you're doing that, your wife (who's standing there rolling out the pizza dough), asks what happened.

You look at your hand, see the quarter-inch-sized patch of missing skin and then your eyes drift over the mounds and mounds of mozzarella cheese on the counter.  And of course you say: "Oh, nothing."

And then, you start sifting through the grated cheese--nonchalantly, trying to keep things on the low down--as you look for the part of you that the cheese grater lopped off.

But inevitably, when you start that, your wife clues in to what's going on (you know how wives are--they have this sixth sense when it comes to hunks of skin being randomly shredded into the pizza cheese) and she says, "Oh, don't tell me you lopped off another big hunk of skin into our cheese...."

And just the way she says it makes you feel stupid and disgusting--repulsive.  It's almost as if she thinks you did this on purpose.  As if the sole purpose of helping grate the cheese is because you're looking for your chance . . . your opportunity to grate your knuckles off into everybody's pizza cheese.  (I don't know about you, but nothing sounds better to me on a Saturday night than a good movie and some "me time" spent resting, relaxing and grating thick layers of my knuckle-skin into the mozzarella cheese.)

Anyway, as I pointed out at the beginning, there are certain products, items or tools that should be used with extreme caution.  One of these is the common cheese grater.  Another of these items is the dental pick--you know, the little metal hook or scraper that dentists use to scrape plaque off your teeth?  Yes.  Those things.  You need to exercise extreme caution when using those.  

See, the other day, while wandering around Meijers, I discovered that you could purchase these tools for yourself:  for $5 or so, you could buy a kit that came with a little handheld dentist mirror and two metal scraper/pick things.  Well, naturally, I thought that was really cool--it'd be like being your own dentist--and so I bought a pack.  After all, this $5 purchase could well save me hundreds of dollars down the road if I could pull it off.

Anyway, I bought a pack and spent the rest of the day thinking about them.  When I arrived home that night, I grabbed my new purchase and made my way excitedly to the bathroom to begin doing dental work on myself.

I moved in front of the mirror, flicked on every light in the bathroom, opened my mouth wide and started poking around inside with the metal pick.  It was an amazing experience.  I felt important.  I felt "dentisty".  And then, I felt pain.

See, I started scraping at what I thought might be plaque and the tool slipped.  It bounced off my tooth and firmly embedded itself, point first, into my gum.  Just below my tooth.

And of course, as I stood there with my hands in my mouth and my little hand-held dentist mirror trembling in my now shaky hands, trying to figure out how deeply the pick was imbedded in my now bleeding (profusely) gums, my wife started hammering on the door. 

"What are you doing in there?  Can I come in?  What's going on?  Are you crying?"  You know, all kinds of questions, fired at me machine-gun-style.

I just shouted "I'b fide.  I'b nob do-id anydin.  Bud dobe cub in . . . ."

In the end, the whole thing was just like being at the dentist:  I was bleeding, my teeth and gums hurt, I was forced to talk with fingers and tools in my mouth . . . and when my wife walked in and saw what I was doing, she gave me the same look of pity mingled with disgust the dental assistants always give me when they tell me I should floss regularly.

So there you go:  dental picks and cheese graters.  Two tools or products you shouldn't use without understanding the risk.  Next time we'll take this topic and apply it to home improvement stuff.  We'll talk about some commonly used items which commonly cause problems.  And we'll talk about how you can avoid those mistakes in your own home.  Until then, leave the dentistry to the dentists and don't eat pizza until you've given it a good once-over.

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