It's early. Haven't even had the Elixir of Knowledge yet.
I stagger into the Reading Room almost cognizant of my surroundings.
A shower'n'shave and finally my mental fog lifts and disappears up the vent with the remaining clouds of steam.
I reach into the medicine cabinet where lies a shiny, perfectly-packed tube of Pepsodent.
I like Pepsodent. It tastes like Beeman gum and it had a great commercial diddy, a jingle that we all pulled a "grade-school-Weird-Al-Yankovich" on.
Except back then is was called pulling a "grade-school-Alan-Sherman".
"You wonder where your teeth all went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!"
I gently take the Pepsodent out of the cabinet, almost reverently unscrewing the cap before applying the First Squeeze to my toothbrush.
I should put this on Facebook. Right next to my nephew's "4-lb-wet-burrito-for-lunch" post.
I polish the ivories, savoring that old-time flavor while foaming at the mouth like that dog Atticus Finch put out of its misery.
Something brushes up against my mind.
That was the only problem He had with the first Church in the batting order of Revelation 2. They were doin' good stuff. Important stuff. But they left their first squeeze, that first love. When He was the reason they felt complete and new.
Not because of the stuff they were doing... 'cause they knew Him. Loved Him.
I glance in the medicine cabinet.
The Wife and TechnoBoy's toothpaste is lying there. (They're not big fans of Pepsodent.) The Colgate tube is dented, flat, squished, and almost empty. That first squeeze of white goo is all but a forgotten memory.
So how does one get back to that First Squeeze? Especially when so much has happened.
When things have been severely flattened...
When the dents run so deep...
When the tube is almost empty...
I pause, toothbrush jutting out of my mouth like Churchill's cigar, staring at my reflection in the mirror.
Yeah. How do I do that? How....
A single word srolls across my mind like a theater marquee.
Wha... Wait a minute. Hey............that'd work!
There was this weird, pink toothpaste Mom & Dad had us all using back in the day. Vademecum. Some European/Swedish stuff. It came with this key with a slit in it, like the one used to open those really old Folgers coffee cans.
You mighta seen those Folger cans............well, maybe not.....
You'd crank 'em around the top, wrapping a thin line of tin around the little key, opening the can just like Mrs. Olson did in those commercials....
("Mounton grown coffee....eet's the reechest kind!)
Vademecum had a key that fit over the end of the toothpaste tube. You rolled it up, squeezing all the pink goo forward until the tube was full, non-dented, and looking like the first squeeze.
Only shorter. Much shorter.
And that's how I can get my first squeeze back!
I let His Key, as I read it, attach to my life. I let it work through my life, moving things towards Him, squeezing the old, useless stuff outta the way.
Oh, yeah. The process, I'm sure, will be uncomfortable.
Sometimes even painful.
But it's what I need to get me back to that First Squeeze. Back to a time when I was forgiven, filled, and undented.
When I was made new, fresh and full of joy.
As I put the toothpaste away, I see a little box of dental floss hiding behind the shaving cream.
I almost slam the door closed.
That's for some other day.