I'm not an overly superficial person, but after ten years of hardcore chain smoking, I figured my teeth could stand to whiten up a bit, as long as it took only minimal effort.
So, you've all seen those “Crest Whitestrip” commercials…You know, the ones where the incredibly happy woman slaps on a “whitestrip”, and then proceeds to go on with her normal daytime routine…shopping, chatting with neighbors, smiling broadly at passers-by, while her whitestrips go undetected by all. Easy, right?
Oh Dear God, that is not the case. For starters, “Crest Whitestrips” come packaged with three very simple instructions, as follows: 1) Peel. 2) Apply. 3) Reveal a whiter smile! Why, even as I was nursing a raging hangover, this was one task I could surely handle!
I begin by peeling the thin, gummy, saran-wrap like strip off it's backing and apply it to each row of teeth. Ah, that was easy…now to begin a little light household cleaning, and by the time I'm finished, I'm sure to have a sparkling new smile! Oh, but wait…it seems as though my mouth has begun rapidly, almost violently filling up with saliva…which immediately transforms into an unpleasant, thick foamy substance (think: consistency of shaving cream). As it begins to bubble out of the corners of my mouth, I make a dash to the bathroom sink, in order to expel the sudsy mess that has already sent my gag reflex into overdrive. I calmly wretch, until my mouth is free of this mess.
Bad move. The slimy, little strips have slid off of my teeth, and are frantically making their escape, mere moments into the recommended thirty-minute process. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror, and notice I resemble some kind of mad, rabid animal. One strip has fallen into the drain, and I am barely able to catch the other, as it slides down my chin. No biggie, I'll just reattach them onto my teeth…. except that one has folded itself into a tiny, sticky ball that has glued itself to my finger. Well I suppose I'll have to open up a new packet of strips…good thing a box of them only cost FORTY FUCKING BUCKS. Approximately, sixty seconds into my second attempt, I start to realize I can't just spit this shit out every time it fills up my mouth.
So, I swallow it. I can't help but think that this must be similar to eating Tide, or something equally inedible (or poisonous). I feel slightly queasy, wondering to myself why the makers of this product failed to go into details about potential problems such as these on their lame “instruction” sheet. The swallowing thing is a temporary solution for several minutes, and just as I'm thinking I'm getting the hang of it, an excruciating burning begins deep within my throat. Not your average “I just ate spicy food” burning, but a “someone just poured sulfuric acid down my esophagus and is waiting for me to die” kind of burning.
I crawl to the phone, to call for help. Frantically, I dial fellow staff member, Jonny O, and attempt to speak. It is slurred, and I find myself drooling into the receiver. He questions my sobriety, and inquires if he can come over and join the party. In a final attempt to plea for rescue, I proceed to swallow the remaining froth, and an entire whitestrip becomes lodged in my throat. The uncontrollable choking is sure to be the beginning of my inevitable demise.
This is my final thought before everything goes black.
I wake up three hours later, refreshed, with a noticeably whiter smile.
May 17th, 2005