Last week when I was on stradbroke island I ventured towards a secluded lagoon. It looked tranquil from a distance; the aquamarine ocean, the tiny rolling waves of sea foam, the way the water spilled and crashed against the cliffs on either side.
But as we came closer my feet felt the prickle of pain and pollution and, sadly, plastic. It was such a downer. Streaked in lines in the pattern of waves from the past; trails of tiny pieces of plastic covered the shoreline; ghostly remnants or watermarks of the morning’s high tide.
I examined the debris for a while, mildly intrigued about where it came from and wondering how much more plastic there was just floating around in the blue yonder. Most of it was in nondescript shapes, broken and morphed by the sun and age, but there were a few discernable items.
I’m going to focus on the toothbrush.
How did a toothbrush end up on a tiny beach? Wouldn’t it be cool if we could interview the toothbrush, probe him, question him, demand that he tells us the stories of his travels?
TOOTHBRUSH: My name is Tooth McBrush (Jnr.) My father was a well esteemed toothbrush, brushing the teeth of the rich aristocracy in Madrid in the 1950’s. My childhood was simple, restful. When I reached the age of Brushing I was assigned to Colgate, with whom I was sent to North Carolina, USA for Tooth Brush Boot Camp. After five years of hard, grueling training, I graduated, was awarded my medals, shrinkwrapped and shipped off to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, where I was sold to a middle aged man with two front teeth missing in a supermarket. It was 1989. The work was tough. It was not what we were prepared back in the training days. But like a good toothbrush I kept my head down, eventually working myself to the highest level of brushing. My owner had the shinest teeth in his province. Then, all was lost two years later when I was accidentally flushed down the toilet by one of his clumsy grandchildren. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye as water enveloped my and I was struggling for my life in the Vietnamese sewer. I don’t have a strong memory of these traumatic days. All I know is that eventually, I survived the ordeal, being pushed out of a pipe and seeing, with a gush of relief, the sunlight again. This did not last long as again I plunged to my downfall into the deep, forboding ocean.
….I just realised that I have to go somewhere. I should probably stop here since I was probably getting a bit too carried away- I understand if you’re starting to feel a little worried, friend.
But you get my point about the toothbrush thing, right? :p