Why am I so ready to kill? Because I’ve already upgraded toothpaste seventeen times in my career and now I have to do it again.
We made the tubes bigger. We added a + symbol to the same formula. We made it extra whitening, more sensitive, changed the color, brought the color back, made up a thing called “bactoreosis” — it doesn’t exist, you’ll never get it but you’ll think you haven’t gotten it because of our toothpaste.
But I am DONE I tell you. I cannot update toothpaste one more time. It’s TOOTHPASTE! The results are in — toothpaste cleans your teeth, they’ve already made it, there’s nothing to improve upon, I’m sick of it. Now I’m told I have to come up with something new, some new way of making our same old toothpaste different, more modern.
You don’t see this happening with cous cous do you? Cous cous never has to be upgraded, it’s fine as it is. And if it was upgraded, if you went into your supermarket one day and a box that said “New and improved cous cous! Bigger juicier grains, you’re not gonna believe this cous cous!” — wouldn’t that frighten you a little? I need to get into the cous cous industry.
I bet my counterpart in the cous cous company just sits at his desk and watches YouTube all day. His boss comes in, says, “How we doing with our new cous cous?” He says, “We don’t have new cous cous.” The boss says, “Keep up the good work.”
He says, “You betcha” and then watches a video of two lion trainers reuniting with a lion they raised as a cub, which I’ve seen and it’s incredibly touching. Though the lion was released into the wild so it could be a lion it still remembers these trainers and licks their faces and paws them affectionately when it sees them.
What tube of toothpaste is gonna lick my face? Toothpaste doesn’t remember you. It sits on the goddamn shelf collecting dust, only to be thrown out or sent back to the factory once my next big idea comes out.
When I came out with bacteriosis you know how many tubes of toothpaste we recalled so the new tubes could take their spots? Five million eighty-three thousand four hundred and four. And we didn’t send them to third world countries either. We emptied the paste into vats and reused it. It later became our “dentist-recommended extra soft toothpaste for soft teeth” — whose teeth are soft? It was one of our best sellers. Unbelievable.
You know what my wife says when I tell her my new ideas for toothpaste? “Please. Honey. I can’t.” I feel so alone, an island unto myself, surrounded by paste.
“Whiter breath” is all I can come up with — that’s my best idea so far. It sounds racist. The focus groups will tear us a new one. “Why in the hell would I want whiter breath?!” the African-Americans will scream at our marketing managers. “Would you want black breath?” they’ll ask and then the shit will really hit the fan. I can’t go down that road.
“We need to hit the 18–22 year old market,” my boss told me. “There’s a whole new batch of college kids that are buying toothpaste since our last campaign and I want them. How do we get them?”
Let me ask you a question, when you got to college how much was toothpaste in the forefront of your brain? What number was it on your list of priorities? How many times do you think this conversation happens in college:
“Hey man, you wanna come with us to the party? Gonna be tons of girls.”
“Nah, I’ll probably just stay in and make it a toothpaste night.”
Hold the motherfucking phone. “A toothpaste night.” I like that.
Night paste, night-time party paste. Like a cologne almost. Like something you do before going out to meet the opposite sex. Sexy toothpaste. Night mint. Breathe. Relax. Don’t be afraid to talk to the opposite sex with this new dating toothpaste specifically engineered for a younger palette. I can see the commercial…
Dad, “Hey son, big date tonight.”
Dad, “Wanna use my toothpaste?”
Son, “Yeah, right, Dad. I want her to like me.”
Dad, “What’s wrong with my toothpaste?”
Son, “It’s too grown up. I use the new younger toothpaste, for a younger palette. It tells girls I’m on their level.”
Dad to Wife, “He says my toothpaste is too old.”
Wife, “It is dear.”
Wife, “But I love it.”
Son, “Ok, I’m off!”
Cut to later that night, at the movies, the breath rays enter the girl’s sphere, she loves it. This could be the one that he marries.
Fuck cous cous.