UNM 125: On cleaning one's teeth in public
Printed May 2, 1964
Were you ever in an old farm-home during mealtime? If so, then you will probably recall that when meals are over, the men lean back in their chairs and intersperse their conversation with queer little sucking noises issuing from their mouths, following hard upon the advent into the mouth of a small piece of wood, used in place of other instruments for the cleansing of the teeth. Now everything has its place, and this performance does not seem strange or out of place in rural homes, but there is nothing quite so disgusting, so sickening, as the appearance of one in public industriously engaged in poking one’s teeth with a small piece of wood.
How many times do we, as college students, have the idea drilled into us that we are in the minority in this world, and being so, should conduct ourselves accordingly, and set high standards of living? Sure it is that there are no courses offered in the University of New Mexico, or in any other University, which train students to poke wood at their teeth as a scientific method of cleaning them. And yet, it is a common thing to see a student walking around the campus or attending classes, diligently engaged in digging into his mouth for the purpose of removing some offending body which has no business being in said locality.
The practice of taking intelligent care of one’s teeth is to be highly recommended and encouraged, but for the love of Mike, listen to reason and don’t injure your teeth by gouging into them with a toothpick. The proper place to do one’s toilet is in the privacy of one’s room, not down on Second and Central or in the class-rooms. You are not only injuring yourself physically, but you are making a fool of yourself socially.