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Like most people my age I am 48 and at this time of life you start to crave certain things that you thought you would never ever crave. I’m of course talking about a Swiss bank account, ten million in used government bonds, a ton of gold bullion and a gigantic laser. Hang on, that’s my Goldfinger fantasy. What I’m really talking about is something so hideous I dare to speak of it.

You stick it in your mouth and wriggle it about a bit, it’s a little bit sharp and can become a mouthful if inserted incorrectly and not everybody enjoys doing it. Now I don’t know where your little wandering mind was going but come back from the dirt track, I was obviously talking about a tool. There you go again, I’m really going to have to take you in hand today aren’t I? It’s a tool that you may be familiar with now your gums are gradually pulling themselves into an Esther Rantzen grin and as hideous as it sounds the older you get the more you need toothpicks.

You may laugh, you may be young and have teeth, youth and a penchant to like the one called Bieber but you too will one day extol the virtues of a good toothpick and remark that back in the day there was an awfully good guide to tooth picking written by a failed artist, somebody called Pieter Smyth or something that painted striped things. So without further ado, a bluffers guide to tooth picking.


This is a toothpick, it is your friend during meals, they are made of wood taken from the forests of Sumatra and carried on the backs of tigers to the ‘pick’ lodges where machines will whittle down a twenty two foot oak into one toothpick. The discarded wood is then used as decorative bark. Notice the sharp point, beware, these are on both ends on the cheap versions and can severely injure or get pickles out of a jar depending how you brandish them.

Always carry a stock of these in your wallet, you never know when you may be asked to eat asparagus or spinach at a moments notice. Chicken can be especially tricky, I have lost count how many times I have had a meal only to walk out with a full chicken leg sticking out of my mouth.
These are average toothpicks, go to a posh place or a place that used to be posh and still hangs on to a poshness it had in its days of posh and you get these.

Posh pricks come in a small cellophane wrapper can be identified by their sanitised point coloured green which dissolves upon use and went out of fashion in the mid 80’s. Notice too that this is a one ended toothpick with an ornately turned finial style end which can double up as a fancy curtain pole for mice and begs the question why? Make sure you use this the right way around, I used it the wrong way to remove a quarter pounder and the finial broke off in my mouth and jammed in my clack forcing me to wheeze and whistle for two weeks until I fell down the stairs and dislodged it, pretty dangerous woodwork.


No matter how attractive this looks it is not a toothpick despite looking rather fetching and pointy. These are called chillies but don’t be fooled by their name they are really hotties, confusing isn’t it? Just like the Dyson ball cleaner do not believe everything you read or you will end up in hospital like I did with a black mark on your medical card and an inability to sit down for two weeks. Chillies do not make good toothpicks anyway, they collapse easily and their spicy taste has the ability to send you rushing to the kitchen with steam bursting from your nose. Avoid.


Now we are talking, due to the poor hygienic dental care displayed by so many in the UK the humble cheese knife doubles up perfectly as a makeshift toothpick. A common tool used by many Jeremy Kyle guests it allows you to pick around your three teeth with comfort and safety using it’s patented ‘V’ system to get around rotten roots and mangled molars to remove every bit of those chicken nuggets and Billy bear mystery meat. This is for hard core users only, I dislocated my jaw trying to remove a bit of Pringle, you have been warned.

Really troublesome foodstuff like nuts and boiled sweets require more vigorous attention, take a tip from the posh and use a sommeliers tool, the combination of bottle opener and corkscrew really allows you to dig out those crevices and one quick turn and you can extract large amounts of trapped food just like a cork from a bottle. I have lost count how many times I have removed an embarrassingly large piece of lobster only to find underneath three layers of the Sunday lunch waiting for me and on one memorable day a full beef roast, yummy it was too a second time.

None posh people who just want to pick at their teeth, toes and nose whilst watching television could do worse than using a condiment fork. Try not to use a dining fork as these can often be quite wide and can look unsightly to your latest girlfriend / boyfriend. Also don’t offer them what you find, it’s bad etiquette even though it looks tasty on the end of the fork. Bonus, the back end of the fork also makes an excellent ear cleaner and fetches wax out a treat. Double bonus, save all your earwax for a year and make your self a free candle saving £££ on expensive clean soya candles sold by the top candle makers, pour in aftershave for a unique scent and use a shoelace as a wick, simple!

Finally if you are stuck at work and struggling removing food then the simple ball point pen is ideal, replace the cap on your pen and put it to one side. Lean over and take your colleagues pen and remove the cap. Have a good root around and dislodge any offending food. Replace the cap and return to the correct desk. Simple, clean and hygienic.

I hope our guide to teeth picking has been helpful, if not simply cut out and keep until you are old enough to realise it’s going to take up a large part of your life along with bladder problems, flatulance, constipation, aches and pains, a tendency to be grumpy and wrinkles in places that you thought couldn’t get any wrinklier.

For more information please visit www.howoldamigoddamit.com

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