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Jul
1

Life After Crest

Up north you don’t see tumbleweeds as much as you’d think. Apparently they are a plant that is only found in desert areas so the image of them tumbling through abandoned cities and towns is only accurate if those cities and towns are hot and don’t get much rain. I guess that’s what makes them tumble, they are rolling around looking for water. Wide open abandoned cities ripe to be tumbled in or not, the plants up north just throw out a few seeds and are done with it.

Can’t blame them really.

Does ruin the whole abandoned city experience though for those of us stuck living through it. I have half a mind to gravitate down to some Old West town just to get the tumbleweed effect but I guess it’s just not worth the effort. I still have the giant empty city with no power and only the sound of the wind and the occasional window falling from one of the big buildings scene going. I use to like to watch Life After People, I think it was on the History Channel, so a lot of what’s going on isn’t surprising to me. Problem is that the TV show would move at a clip of 25 years at a time but here in real life it’s all one day at a time so I’ll never see the buildings disappear entirely and the whole place return to a big forest.

Oh well. It will happen whether there is an audience or not, the History Channel wouldn’t air something that wasn’t true.

There I go again, trusting something just because it was said with a straight face on TV. You’d think I would have learned. Maybe the buildings will never go away and the History Channel was full of it.

Here’s the thing. Back when toothpaste was doing a good job fighting cavities none of us were any the wiser. We watched the ads for Crest and Colgate and felt pretty damn safe and secure. Like these companies had our back. When the first whispers of tartar and plague started nobody took much notice.

Near the end I distinctly remember Life After People being sponsored by Colgate Advanced Whitening toothpaste. How’s that for irony? Like we should have been worried about discolored teeth. There are no coincidences; somebody somewhere had a weird sense of humor.

You see, by that time it was already starting to come out that the fluoride introduced into the water supply wasn’t just there to make everyone feel better about the whole plague thing. The government had put it there to sedate the masses, to take the edge off. They already knew what was coming and the longer they could put off everybody else knowing the more time they thought they had to figure it out.

Maybe I’m fixated on tumbleweeds because they remind me so much of myself and all the other little bands of survivors. Scurrying seemingly aimlessly around, but there was always some pressing need that drove us to move from Point A to Point B. Food, water, shelter, companionship. Something got us out of our hiding spots and back, however briefly, into the elements. While the winds push our Salsola tragus buddies in whatever directions they happen to be going we listen to them whisper and howl and hope they bring us some good news.

Which they never do. They just whisper and howl the obvious.

Colgate and Crest knew they were losing the war, fluoride or not, but they couldn’t start a panic. Few people saw the writing on the wall, we all thought we had plenty of time. I guess you always think you have more time.

Then came gingivitis. Nobody was ready for it.

It started like these things always do. Rumors. Always from ‘over there,’ someplace else. Someplace far away. Then it was down the street. Somebody you knew.

Then it was everywhere.

I haven’t seen anyone in almost a week. Maybe it’s time to head south after all. I really would like to see a tumbleweed tumbling. I know it’s looking for somewhere to disperse its seeds but I imagine it looking so carefree.

That alone seems worth the trip.

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