Sunday, September 06, 2015

Show Me a Toothpick

David Simon's SHOW ME A HERO was magnificent, but it had the unintended consequence of severely curtailing Bill Boyle's innocent lifelong habit of chewing toothpicks, which he picked up from his grandfather in Brooklyn. (You can read about Bill's grandfather chewing toothpicks in my upcoming nonfiction book CIGARETTE LIGHTER, by the way. I ain't lying!) Alfred Molina chews his toothpicks in a such a gross, villainous way in SHOW ME A HERO that it really made Bill Boyle rethink the whole idea of chewing toothpicks for a minute. "He just lets it dangle there," Bill said disgustedly when I saw him at The End of All Music a week or so ago. Bill showed me, by contrast, the way he had been tucking his toothpicks almost all the way into the back of his mouth as of late, in a sort of shame, ever since witnessing the spectacle of Alfred Molina's dirty, blatant toothpick dangling - an affront to the memory of Bill's grandfather! Later that week I was watching AMERICAN GRAFFITI on TV and happened to notice Paul Le Mat lovably chewing a toothpick, so I sent that clip ("click" here) to Bill to cheer him up. Some days later I happened to be watching IT'S A GIFT on TCM, and the put-upon W.C. Fields was heroically chewing a toothpick, which I hope afforded him (Fields, I mean, but Bill, too, I guess) some relief. That clip is yours for a "click" here. Let's all chip in and help Bill give toothpick-chewing back to the good guys! I mentioned that my own grandfather used to occasionally chew flavored toothpicks, which I assumed were a thing of the past (see packaging below), but then Bill offered me a "tea tree oil" flavored toothpick from his own personal stash! I declined, perhaps haunted by thoughts of Alfred Molina. This seems like the place to mention that in my ill-advised search for "flavored toothpicks" on the "internet," I astonishingly (?) came across - and forgive me for mentioning this - "breast milk flavored toothpicks." I'm sorry. I had to tell somebody. I have a hard time imagining the targeted demographic.