I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the kind of person who has anything to do with a toothpick in public wouldn’t be too concerned with what he does with it, right? Well, then why was I so thoroughly appalled yesterday during lunch at Candle Cafe to see that an otherwise well-dressed and -groomed man had a toothpick tucked behind his ear like a lotus flower? And to add insult to crushing injury, the toothpick wasn’t acting as a mere accessory, like a stickpin (oh, horrors of the ’80s!) or an errant cornflake. No, later it was pointed out to me by my eagle-eyed companion that it was also being put to use in the man’s mouth.
Ordinarily I would applaud the melding of form and function, the union of style and substance, but in this instance, I was more than a touch repelled. Although I’m not certain whether he used this implement to pick his teeth or to act as a substitute for a cigarette that wasn’t permitted in the restaurant, or if it was just evidence of the man’s oral fixation, that does not matter. What matters is that one moment the thing was behind his glistening ear, and the next it was in his mouth. I could not look at him after that, for fear of what he would pull (out) next. Perhaps a Q-Tip from his underarm? A Wet-Nap from his lap?
Is this just bad form, or am I too picky?*
*Rhetorical question, children. Do not send email hotly defending public toothpick use. Toothpicks should remain unseen, in your fanny pack, until such time as you get back to your dirt-floor hovel, where you can pick whatever you like.
P.S.  Look at what I had for lunch! I sure know how to pick ’em, huh?