I was contemplating my toothbrush just now and thinking how ridiculously overengineered and overmanufactured it is. This after a long yet instantaneous vision of how, post-apocalypse, I'd have to use this same toothbrush for the rest of my life.
It's a pleasant, firm, yet yielding texture, faintly rubbery but in no way sticky or too slick or unpleasant. It could be a high class prosthetic device. Its coloring is precisely controlled, so that it's perfectly white and then has harder plastic purple bits. We haven't even gotten to the bristles yet; this is just the handle. It has sparkly gold letters for its superdesigned logo. There's a hole in the ergonomically designed handle just in case I want to hang it up.
How can this be sustained? How can we make such very designed and made and yet disposable objects? Isn't there a cost to this conspicuous consumption? Must everything be so nice? Isn't the superfanciness of this toothbrush actually made of someone's blood and misery?
Some whole committee probably did studies of how the subtle womanly curves of the toothbrush handle could play upon our advertising-sick psyches. What a waste of their lives and time and mental energy.
All this for what is basically... a few bristles glued to a fucking STICK.
I'm sure there was a cheaper, plainer toothbrush, but maybe I would have saved a quarter by buying it.
Wait, but if I buy the fancy one, I'll probably brush my teeth more. Because I associate brushing my teeth with the idea of an annoying chore. So the more ornate the object, the more I'm ritually buying belief, or commitment, to the toothbrushing.
Here is where I think that sumptuary laws might be a good idea and also relatively painless. Though it seems ridiculous to make a fancy toothbrush illegal, and I'm sure for someone with arthritis, the fancy grip is helpful. Or just give, oh, I don't know, tax breaks for companies that manufacture simpler things. I'm not saying there needs to be an aestheticism tax, or a cushiony-tool-handle tax... but maybe something more like a "needless complexity tax". Or every 5 years, have a sort of contest and only allow the top 10 different toothbrush designs. How the fuck many do we need!
Standard disclaimer on how I don't know anything about actual economics.
Also, I'll never say no to that really thin minty "glide" floss, which does mean that I floss my teeth rather than just thinking about it.