Why I Tell My Toothpaste to Fuck Off Every Night

Dear Darling Ones,

I’ve worked in marketing for the better part of twenty years. One of the side-effects is being inordinately invested in redesigns and rebranding. Also, being a sucker for good packaging.

This is kind of annoying because I long to be an anti-capitalist renegade, and not an “oh! that’s pretty I must have it” tool. Holding two diametrically-opposed opinions at the same time is one of my superpowers. Geminis represent!

Another thing about me, which has nothing to do with working in marketing and everything to do with being a bitter, jaded harpy, is I hate motivational platitudes and positive affirmations. I loathe them much the way I hate Gwen Stefani, mushrooms, and republicans.

These little bits of word vomit bandied about so freely on the internet always feel super obvious and condescending. Have they ever in the history of modern language motivated someone or made them feel better?

Maybe girl bosses who are always hustling, who wake up and slay, and who lean in have been motivated by this stuff. Not me!

I am only motivated & positively affirmed by one saying, and you should know his by now, that I have written in every journal, notebook, and planner I’ve had since 1991.

“Day time, night time, any time, things go better with rock. The only time I turn down is when I’m sleeping it off.”

Just kidding, it’s this, from e.e. cummings.

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

I love this because it speaks to my innate sense of being other and also can be read as kind of anti-capitalist and anti-conformist, two things that make my heart go pitter pat.

So, this brings to me why I tell my toothpaste to fuck off every night.

My beloved Tom’s of Maine recently redesigned their packaging. I was all in, because I love that shade of aqua blue and the contrast of magenta. I like the subtleness of the brand qualities that look like they were stamped on tube. What I hate, what annoys me every god damn night to my very core, is the stupid “Do a little good today” bullshit that’s given second-billing on the package behind only the corporate logo.


Really? Really? REALLY? Do I (or anyone) really need toothpaste to remind me to be a good person. Why does my toothpaste think this is a role it should play in my life? Why is my toothpaste offering me any advice that is not related to maybe flossing more or changing my toothbrush more regularly?

The toothpaste is just one example. I’ve been attacked by cough drops and there was a time where Always maxi pads were wrapped in pithy sayings about the positivity of being a girl.

Are we so broken as a society that we look to products to positively affirm us and remind us to be good people?


Yes, this is exactly what I want to do with my one wild, precious life.

Bitterly yours,

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