Sunday, August 8, 2010

Controlling Nature

by Joseph Walker

A toothbrush. That's all I needed.

But not just any old toothbrush. None of your bargain basement,
wimpy bristled, use-it-twice-then-throw-it-out toothbrushes this time.
No sir. This time I was going to get a toothbrush that could
withstand the beating I seem to inflict upon instruments of dental
hygiene (you should see what I do to dental floss -- it isn't pretty).
Perhaps I have toothbrush-intolerant enamel. Or perhaps I have
latent hostility issues that cause me to turn in to Iron Man in front
of the bathroom mirror. Or perhaps it has something to do with the
fact that I grew up with two dentist brothers-in-law who insisted on
vigorous brushing -- or else. Whatever the reason, I am hard on

My wife, Anita, is still using that really nice toothbrush I
gave her for our 28th wedding anniversary five years ago (what,
you've never heard of the Toothbrush Anniversary?) I, on the other
hand, go through them like Lady Gaga goes through sequins. I buy a
toothbrush, it works well for a few days, and then, before you know
it, the bristles stop bristling. Or the handle breaks. Or the brush
doesn't brush -- it just sort of rubs.

So I was determined to get the best toothbrush I could find. It
was the only thing I needed when I walked into the store that day. I
was prepared to spend as much as three or four dollars on the brush.
Little did I know that three or four dollars wouldn't even constitute
a decent down payment on a state-of-the-art toothbrush. There are
toothbrushes with engines -- I'm not kidding about this. They have
more horsepower than my Hyundai.

I don't want to compete in the Indianapolis 500. I just want to
brush my teeth.

Finally I settled on a nice, sturdy, no-nonsense toothbrush that
looked like it would get the job done for at least the rest of the
month. Then I noticed that this toothbrush was also available in a
five-pack for even less per toothbrush than I was going to pay for
the one I had selected. If one toothbrush is good, then five is even
better, isn't it? Sure, it was more than I was planning to spend
during this trip to the store. But it would be worth it in the long

Wouldn't it?

After picking up the box o' brushes I noticed another good deal:
a package of four tubes of our favorite toothpaste for a very good
price. Well, I couldn't pass on that deal, could I? It seemed so
cosmically synergistic: toothbrushes and toothpaste. It flowed
naturally from one to the other -- and such good prices!
Then I noticed another great price on a multi-bar pack of soap.
And then another great deal on shampoo. And they had such a good
price on "The Blind Side"...

Nearly $100 later I escaped from the store with my debit card
smoking. Of course, this isn't unusual for me. Anita often sends me
to the store with a five-item list, and I end up at the checkout
stand with a fully loaded shopping cart. It's called impulse buying,
and I'm about as impulsive as they come. I'm the reason store
managers prepare those attractive displays and mega-sales offers --
they want to entice me into being impulsive. And usually I oblige.
But no more. Although it is my nature to be impulsive in the
grocery store, I've decided it is time to go against my nature. Our
burgeoning cupboards and our crashing budget both demand it -- not to
mention Anita.

And that's OK, I think. One of the most important things we
learn in this life is when to trust and act upon our natural
inclinations, and when to control them. There are times when "that's
just how I am" is an explanation, and times when it's a cop-out.
Even when dental hygiene is at stake.

-- Joseph Walker


Andrea said...

Great post! and so true!

Blessings, andrea

Warren Baldwin said...

Oh, this column was right on target. "Just the way I am" denies the transformative work of Jesus and the Spirit, doesn't it? Good post.

Mari said...

Great post!

momstheword said...

Haha! He's just an impulse buy waiting to happen, lol!


A most interesting post.


RCUBEs said...

Why do men never stop searching for the "ultimate one", even toothbrush? Praying all is well with you sister Kat and have a great weekend, too. Thank you for your prayers. God bless and protect you always.

Just Be Real said...

Love that picture along with such a good post Kat! Thank you! Blessings.

Teresa said...

Enjoyed giggling at your post...yet it is so true..."Just the way I am"...God has accepted me just the way I am, Yet with His great transforming power I go from just who I am; to The Great I Am! Thank you for this delightful post!

Denise said...

Wonderful post.