How Much Toothpaste Can One Person Eat?
Yes it is the age old question that has never been answered, attempted many times but never fully answered. Of all of the attempts in recorded history my favorite happens to be by a man named William-Walter "Daisy" Weismann. I had the opportunity to interview this almost champion at the Teeth Cleaning Convention in Sacramento in early 1999.
He was the guest of honor that year so thankfully he accepted my request to interview him if only I would pay him the low fee of $75, so it was good to see not only did the fame and fortune not go to Mr. Weismann's head but also his ego was not nearly as inflated as the super celebrities of today.
He met me in a secluded room and he allowed only one pen and one sheet of loose-leave paper. He also limited me to only asking ten questions, and said that each additional question will cost around fifteen dollars. I then said, "What do you mean around fifteen dollars?" Weismann replied with, "First off that is your first question, second "around fifteen dollars" means twenty-five dollars plus tax." At this point I knew that I must outsmart him or else I was not going to get to ask any of my journalistic questions. So without hesitation I began with my first question or second if you ask William-Walter, "How far did you get to finishing off an entire tube of toothpaste in one sitting, before you failed?" He answered with, "About three fourths of the way into the tube." Our conversation went as follows from there:
"Would you care to elaborate?"
"I think the TEC (Toothpaste Eating Community or Toothpaste Eating Championship depending on what country you live in) deserves an answer, don't you?"
"I really do not think that they care."
"It is of my opinion that people, especially young people who have their whole lives ahead of them, and older people who have very little left to live for should not occupy their time with eating toothpaste."
"You do know this will send shockwaves throughout the entire TEC?"
"So what, someone needed to speak the truth."
"Do you know how many members of TEC there are in the United States alone?"
"No, and I do not care either."
"There are twenty-seven, and do you know what they will do to you once this interview hits the presses?"
"It does not bother me because I really do not care what they might do."
"Have you ever heard of Morgan Crawford?"
"No, is she famous too?"
"She was the last person who made insidious comments about the TEC, and do you know what happened after that?"
"No, but I do know something you do not."
"That was your tenth question, so write me out a check for $75, and I will be on my way."
I stood up from my chair, threw the check on the ground as I realized I had just been bested by the best con man in the business who calls himself a celebrity, even though he still could not finish off a whole tube of toothpaste.
Sadly, I would not see him again so that I could exact my revenge on this sinister man; however, several years later riding the train through South Detroit, there was a short stubby man sitting by himself on the other side of the train car, who looked exactly as I pictured what William-Walter Weismann would look like nowadays, but as soon as I saw him the train stopped at a station and he got off and I stayed on. Asking that man if it was Weismann was one question that I never got to ask.
The moral of this tale is to always ask questions of both strangers and authority because only good things can come of it.