Swish, Swish, Swish.

Remember back in the day, when they used to give you fluoride pills at school? They were those little pink pills handed out every morning to all the students.

The teacher would give the command, and we'd reluctantly pop them in our mouths. The pill designers knew that children like bubblegum or some fruity flavour, because they sure packed all that taste into this tiny little pill. I mean, it was a tart flavour bomb, that thing. Upon contact with saliva, it would coat tangy pink slime all over your mouth.

Your first instinct was to gag and spit it out, painting your desk and papers in hot fuschia; your second was to yell explicatives at the teacher and storm out. Neither ever happened, of course. Instead, you swished it around your teeth, the classroom echoing with nasty squelching sounds. All eyes intently on the teacher, who stared at his wrist (while secretly laughing at our misery).

Swish, swish, swish. "Today's thirty seconds sure seems longer than yesterday's."

"Hmm ... maybe he mis-timed us." And about now, you begin to experiment with swishing rhythms. Swish-swish, swish. When you've mastered the mouthful melody, you graduate yourself to investigating different types of squelching noises. Swish-swish, squelch, swish-squelch.

Any time now. Swish, squelch-squelch-squelch.

Finally, "Okay, go spit." Even before he finished that sentence, 25 kids bolted for the bathrooms to spit out the hell-in-a-pill torture. Around then, I wished I had a consent form from my parents exempting me from this.

(Funny that these are the memories that occupy the limited space in my head. You'd think I'd use my memory for more important things.)


Nk said...

We had to swallow the fluoride. My friends and I used to fake popping them in our mouths and swishing (and swallowing), and we had a little collection of fluoride pills in the eraser compartment of someone's pencil case. Maybe that's why I have so many fillings now.

Ben said...

Huh. Maybe you're right. Maybe I had to swallow that fluoride too. Maybe the spitting out was from a different medicine. In any case, the rest of the experience holds true, even if my memory fails me in my old age.