Very often, it is the tiniest problems that baffle us the most and give rise to the biggest discussions. No wonder. “Trifles make the sum of life’, said one English writer (Charles Dickens). A Scottish poet (Alexander Smith) said the same thing a little differently when he proclaimed that “trifles make up the happiness or the misery of human life”.
Now that we’ve mastered the philosophical foundations, let’s find the answers to some of life’s trivial question we always wanted to ask… but did not know whom to ask.
1. Wetting the toothbrush: before or after applying the toothpaste?
Before and after, say some dentists. The first wetting should be thorough. It softens and cleans the toothbrush and helps the toothpaste adhere better to the bristles. The second wetting, which should be quick, makes the product adhere even better and activates it.
2. How much toothpaste to use?
Forget all you ever learned from toothpaste ads. You only need a pea-sized quantity of your favourite toothpaste.
3. Toilet seat up or down?
Never mind the toilet seat. It is important to put down the lid before flushing the toilet. Flushing causes millions of tiny and very objectionable particles to burst from the toilet bowl. Right into your face. And your hairbrush. And your toothbrush. In short, put that lid down, and leave it down.
4. Thumb inside or outside the fist?
You risk bruising your knuckles when you participate in a fistfight, but if you put your thumb inside your fist, you also risk breaking your thumb. So, if you plan on being in a fistfight you must… get a pair of boxing gloves.
5. Buttoning a shirt: top-down or bottom-up?
Trust me on this one. Always button your shirt starting with the bottommost button and work your way up. I lost many minutes of my life buttoning, unbuttoning and re-buttoning almost every time I started the operation from what I thought was the top button… only to discover that the edges were uneven upon reaching the end.
Trivial things are much easier to deal with when you know the whys and the wherefores, aren’t they? Oh, and in case you wondered about the glaring absence of the where-to-squeeze-the-toothpaste dilemma from my little list of trifles… Well, the omission is intentional. There’s simply no correct way to squeeze the toothpaste. Of course, there is the neatest and the best-looking way, which is…. But never mind that. If the way your nearest and dearest squeeze the toothpaste drives you up the wall, just get everyone their own toothpaste!