War of the Toothpastes

War of the Toothpastes

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Every new marriage starts with some rocky issues that, at least to outsiders, seem impossible to work past. The newlyweds have different ideas about politics, raising children, or money.

It’s especially hard for couples who come from completely different religions. He’s Catholic, she’s Jewish. He goes to church on Sunday, she goes to Temple on Saturday.

“You can’t marry someone outside the faith!” says the young man’s mother. “There will be too many problems.”

“We love each other enough to get past it,” he says. “We’ll figure it out as we go along.”

“How will you raise your children?” the young woman’s mother wails.

“We’ll raise them with a full understanding of both faiths, and let them make their own choices when they’re old enough,” she says.

What the young couple doesn’t realize is this will all just lead to fighting and arguing about which one is the One True Faith, and who’s wrong and who’s right. Eventually, one parent will be forced to convert to the other’s faith. Or they’ll have to relinquish the kids’ religious upbringing for the sake of family harmony.

My wife and I had a similar problem when we first got married.

“Honey, I ran out of toothpaste,” I said one evening.

“You can use some of mine,” my loving bride told me, handing me the tube and giving me a kiss on the cheek.

“Eww, what’s this?” I said, pinching the tube and holding it at arm’s length, as if she just handed me a dead skunk.


“You never told me you were a Colgate user!”

“You didn’t ask,” she said, confused. “Why, what do you use?”


“Crest? CREST?! Why am I just finding out about this now? Oh my God, have you been hiding this from me all this time?”

“You say that as if I’ve committed some unpardonable sin!” I shouted.

“You’re a Crest user, aren’t you?”

“It’s not like I secretly wear women’s clothes.”

“If only it were that easy. I could handle that. But instead you use this. . . this. . . ‘toothpaste.’”

“Hey, I’ve been a Crest man all my life. My family is a Crest family.”

“We’ve been a Colgate family for nearly 100 years!”


“So Crest has only been around since 1955. My family uses a freakin’ historical toothpaste. Yours is just some up-and-comer. It’s probably not even a real toothpaste. It was probably just created by some hack science fiction writer trying to make a fast buck.

“Well, your toothpaste tastes 100 years old. At least mine tastes fresh and minty. Not like wintergreen tile grout.”

Her hands flew to her face, and she choked back a sob. “So what are you saying? That I’m some sort of toothpaste heathen?” she demanded.

“You’re the one accusing me of using a scam toothpaste. I stand firmly behind my toothpaste and everything it stands for. You make it sound like yours is the one true toothpaste, and the only way to be cavity-free.”

“My family always said this would be a problem for us, but I didn’t believe them.” She began to cry, and my anger dissolved like toothpaste foam in water.

“Look, it’s not a big problem.”

“How can you say that?”

“We’ve had some differences before, but we overcame them. You’re a Republican and I’m a Democrat, but that never came between us, did it?”

She sniffed and thought for a moment. “No, it never did.”

“And you grew up in a church family, but I didn’t. That didn’t hold us back, did it?”

“No, that was pretty easy, in fact.”

“They all were. We worked our way through those problems without any difficulties, and we’ll make it through this one too. I know it’s a bigger hurdle, but we love each other enough to get past it. We’ll just figure it out as we go along.”

“What about the children?” my wife asked, wiping away the remaining tears. “What are we going to do about them.”

I considered this. “How about this as a compromise: Crest makes a good kid’s toothpaste, and we’ll start them out on that. After they get older, we’ll let them try both toothpastes, and they can make their own choices when they’re old enough. How’s that sound?”

“Fair enough.”

We hugged for a minute, and then she headed toward the kitchen. “I’m going to make a sandwich. Do you want one?”

“Sure, do we have any Hellmann’s?”

“Hellmann’s? Don’t you mean Miracle Whip?

“Miracle Whip?” I could feel my blood pressure rising again. “MIRACLE WHIP?!”

Like this column? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.