An engraving of the Tower of Babel by Dolf Rieser (see: More about Dolf Rieser) used to hang overlooking the first landing of the staircase in our family home in north-west London.
In my thirties I worked as a dentist and lived in north Kent. Almost every weekend, I used to drive to visit my widowed father in our family home. On one of these visits I noticed a box lying on the landing beneath the Tower of Babel engraving. It was an unopened, sealed box containing a dental water pik. This is a device that can be used to pulse tiny jets of water between neighbouring teeth in order to dislodge deposits of dental plaque (bacterial debris). It has proved to be a far less effective method of removing plague than dental floss, which itself is less eggective than the use of tiny interdental brushes. I was a bit surprised that my father had bought a water pik as he is not a lover of gadgets.
For several weeks after I first noticed the unopened package, I kept returning to my family home and seeing the unopened package, which was gradually becoming covered with dust. Eventually, I asked my father about it.
He told me that each time he visited his dentist, ‘D’, he was asked to purchase one of these water piks. After a series of visits, he paid out almost £100 to buy one. I asked him why he had wasted his money on something he was not going to use. He said:
“D kept on pestering me to buy one. He was getting on my nerves, so to shut him up I bought one. I have no intention of using it.”
No doubt profit was not the only motive for D wanting my father to own a water pik, and he might have been surprised by my father’s reason for buying one, namely to put an end to his ‘hard sell’.
To see the Tower of Babel engraving, click: HERE