The noble peasant


Peasant blood flows through me. I like simple food, simple clothes, and a simple home. Even my mind is simple. I am a plodder and a hard worker – show me the broom, hand me the rag, and I will get to work and make it shine. Get me started; I will finish.


That is fancy talk for: I am a neurotic. I feel compelled to finish what I start, no matter how unpleasant it is, and I’ve convinced myself that there is something noble about doing so.


I also must take anything that is free. Two packets of artificial sugar are served with my coffee? I must take them home. Do I use artificial sugar? No. Have I ever used it? No. Does anyone in my family use it? (Note to self: Please stop asking questions you know the answer to.) But you never know, smarty-pants self. Occasionally, someone visits, asks for some, and I win.


When we travel I must take the toiletries placed in my room. If I don’t, the hotel will buy fewer products, which leads to a lower demand for products, fewer jobs, higher unemployment, and societal breakdown. So I do it for your sake, friend. I am noble that way.


Proof of how I am saving the economy. You're welcome.


I also ask others for their free toiletries, so I have bags of stuff. A number of years ago, I reached into one of those bags and pulled out a small, silver tube of toothpaste. I put all of it on my toothbrush and nearly gagged when I started brushing. Ack, I thought, this is disgusting. I continued brushing, gagging and sputtering the entire time, but finally completed the task I started out to do. After rinsing my mouth several times to get the taste out of my mouth, I looked at the little tube more closely. In tiny letters, it read: Shaving Cream.


Yes, I carefully brushed all of my teeth with shaving cream, starting at the back with my molars, working in a clockwise direction on each tooth, brushing both sides, and remembering to brush the tops of my molars. Did I brush my tongue? Probably. My neurosis goes to the dentist with me, so it knows the drill. (Gag alert: gratuitous pun.)


For a sparkling shave, I suggest Crest; for stubble-free teeth, my choice is Barbasol


If this neurosis had a blog, the comment section would be closed. So I’ve learned to live with it and call it being frugal or noble, but if you  read the fine print, you’ll see what it really is.

30 thoughts on “The noble peasant

  1. Good for you! I too, feel compelled to take the toiletries from hotel rooms, then I give them to the homeless shelter or the food bank, as they love these things and are much needed. I do keep those cute little shower caps, you can’t buy those things anywhere. The ones they sell at Walmart are huge and as thick as elephant hide, they are like the ones from the fifties that fit over a head full of rollers. I only wish I felt the same drive to finish everything I start…..

    • I think you’re right, Kate. We were raised by mothers concerned about the starving children in some other country. They had lived through the Great Depression and knew you shouldn’t waste things.

  2. Self-reflection is part of the cleansing process and we must all take “AIM” to ‘rinse’ the ‘stubble’ from our lives. I won’t use the word funny as I see you have a question about the nature in which it is used..So, very humous post, as is your wont.

  3. “My neurosis goes to the dentist with me, so it knows the drill”

    When this one entered your head, surely you had to reflexively stifle the urge to gag out loud … bless your heart for forging ahead anyway, and letting it fall on the page. I didn’t think today was a day for smiling, but you managed to prove me wrong. Noble work!

    • Actually, I love puns and can hardly get enough of them. I realize they are a low form of humor and make most other people groan or roll their eyes. I try to refrain from too much of it, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I realized later today, that I put the gag alert after the pun. I need some kind of symbol (a little choking man) to put in front of those kind of sentences.

  4. I’m sure that using shaving cream to brush your teeth is akin to having the plaque removed by the dentist. And oh, so much cheaper!

    And these days, taking the hotel bottles is a necessity — the TSA takes all my bigger stuff.

    • I have convinced myself that the hotels expect and want you to take the bottles and have included that in the price. I know someone will try to convince me otherwise and I will listen patiently, smile, and not occasionally, but inside I will be saying. “La, la, la, la, la.” : )

  5. I laughed so hard the shaving cream came out my nose! Honestly, no matter how terrible it tasted, isn’t it a relief to know you chose that instead of shampoo, which would force you into brushing twice and following it up with conditioner (and really, who wants luxuriant, wavy teeth? Certainly not someone who takes her neuroses along to the dentist’s office!).

    • See how much the comments add to the post! If shampoo came in little silver tubes, I’m sure I could mistake it for toothpaste and that particular neurosis would suggest I follow up with conditioner – just as you suggested.

  6. As I read your post, I thought of my little army of mini shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, and soaps. Add to this, the little array of samples that a dear friend collects for me and brings over when she visits. I think they need their own cupboard now. I can’t waste things either and recycling? I’m the recycling overlord 😉 Oh how I love those little packets of sugar and mini spreads…they just scream ‘take me’. It’s like Alice in Wonderland at my local cafe. Might I say, they do a mean bacon and egg breakfast for $5. Oh, right. Forgot where i was for a minute. You brushed your teeth with shaving cream? I was thinking…how awful then I remembered the time I pulled out one of my little sample bottles and…the deodorant that I thought it was, turned out to be hairspray. Great post!

  7. Talk to me...I'm your Mother

    Don’t you hate it when you can’t get the last liittle bit out of the bottom of the little free bottle of hand lotion? I’m with you!

  8. Margie

    I’ll blame it on poor lighting, but I recently put some antibiotic ointment on an owie on my hand, and then wondered why it dried and formed a crust. I had used toothpaste by mistake.

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