Not from The Annals of Dental Hygiene, No


I am neither ‘pataphysician nor ‘pataphysicist: I do own a pair of ‘pataphysical binoculars, however, equipped with ‘pataphysical optics to permit both telescopic and microscopic viewing, sometimes simultaneously so. (Thus armed or equipped, you may begin to object, I might as well be a credentialed ‘pataphysician or ‘pataphysicist, since I bear all qualifications in my provincial and obliterative comportment, but I refuse to sit for the tedious exams. It also is true that I have composed both the ornamental Handbook on ‘Pataphysical Binocularity and the profuse Handbook of ‘Pataphysical Binocularity as well as both the popular Manual of ‘Pataphysical Binocularity and the stupendous Manual on ‘Pataphysical Binocularity, all of which have enjoyed sales requiring two printings: but these labors were but the products of an untutored mongrel, and ‘pataphysics professes no cure yet for doggery.)

Scanning the low horizon of a featureless plain one afternoon of a recent June, I had an unobstructed view of the desperado Clint Toothwood riding with malevolent zeal his spattered pony (a confusing horse to observe: his front half black with white spatters, his rear half white with black spatters, but Clint has always commented that at least with this horse he can tell whether he’s coming or going). As ever, Clint rode armed with multiple spools of floss, behavior conspicuously professional and becoming in a floss aficionado (don’t get pushy: even desperados can coincide with aficionados). Although his carriage of copious spools of floss might seem perfectly natural, in Clint’s case native aptitude was supplemented by diligent education. Clint had studied back east so diligently that he helped co-found the Graduate School of Flossing Technique at prestigious Prestigious University. Many required textbooks in the field were authored by none other than Clint Toothwood, who had meticulously inspected flossing techniques from both sides of the Alps to launch the discipline of ethnographic flossing studies before authoring the landmark Toothwood’s History of Toothpicking, now also available in its second printing.

At a misfortunate moment, however, the Listerine Kid enrolled in the acclaimed Graduate School of Flossing Technique. “Hogwash and mouthwash!” the Kid hectored Clint one cold morning from the dark recess of a cavernous auditorium, and boy did it hurt. Misgivings had preceded the Kid’s enrollment, notorious as he was for his practice of extracting every other tooth (scrupulously extracting only corresponding locations top and bottom), his people had been anti-floss campaigners from the sixteenth century.

“You’ll never get past sixteen,” Clint growled at the Kid.

“If orthodontists would just pull more teeth, nobody’d need dental floss!” the Kid spat back, all other graduate students of flossing technique withdrawing from around his seat on the back row with visible gasps and groans, but no hairballs landed closer than the row in front.

Clint had no ready answer for the Kid’s retort, which only steadied his aficionado’s resolve. “Hang ‘im!”

The Kid’s classmates strung him up with waxed menthol floss in short moments, the Kid didn’t even time to shout “gap-toothed baboon!”

Graduate students in flossing technique, now knowing the perils of second-guessing the curriculum, returned to studies with praiseworthy zeal.

The rancid carcass of the Listerine Kid was removed from the auditorium once class ended and knotted to the clapper of the Liberty Bell replica that graces Prestigious University Plaza. His transition to foul-smelling mess ensued with haste: fortunately, summer break arrived minutes later. By the time classes resumed early in September, the Kid’s noose of waxed menthol floss swung in the breeze in silent testimony to his academic perfidy.


strannikov continues to acquire unsavory habits. Some light bulbs he reads by go unchanged for years and acquire domes of dust. (Spiders strangle on the dust he permits.) What he does with his microwave oven is best left unmentioned, frankly (hint: rabbits do not share his bemusement). strannikov now defines “Death” succinctly as: “quantum oscillation stabilization effected by gravity”.

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