Pipeline Brushes (Issue 680)

In which we are reminded to spread the risk in our pipelines by continuously adding new names.

I was late.  Despite all the planning and working out of schedules to arrive at the beginning of my client’s dinner meeting, I was late.  I’d driven and flown the jets all afternoon… 20 minutes late. The driver and car I’d hired were waiting as I skippy-hopped down the baggage claim escalator …. and the roads were jammed.

10 minutes before the dinner start time, my client texted me: “You’re at Table 17.”

I texted back, “Thank you, I’m 25 minutes out, see you soon.”

Checking in to the hotel  15 minutes past the 6:30 pm dinner start time, I quick-marched to the elevator, paced circles  through the five floor rise, and trotted the 50 yards to room 546.

Once inside, I dumped my shirts, suit, and shoes into a heap on the bed; grabbed my shaving kit; and headed to the bathroom for a quick freshen. Light on, hand towel on the counter, I dumped my effects onto the towel…. and watched in slow motion as my toothbrush tumbled to the bathroom floor, coming to rest near the base of the toilet.


I picked it up. I wanted…. I NEEDED…I…. needed… to brush my teeth!  I looked at the brush.  I ran the hotel’s hottest water. I soaped the brush. I scrubbed it. I wondered, “Do three second rules apply to toothbrushes dropped by hotel toilets?”

More hot water. More soap. More scrubbing.

“Miller, you are LATE FOR DINNER!!!!,” roared my internal coach.  “WHAT ARE YOU DOING????”

“I…want…to…brush…my…teeth,” I replied.  I inspected the brush, remembering names of a half dozen potentially uncomfortable microbes that could have established anticipatory colonies on the floor.

I squeezed a glob of toothpaste onto my tongue. As I buttoned my dress shirt and Windsored my tie, I  pushed the toothpaste  around my mouth. The late-person’s breath freshener.

After dinner, I returned to my room to reconsider the brush.  I’m very particular about my tooth brushes. (I know, you’re just shocked about that!)  I do NOT like the cheap, scratchy, hotel tooth brushes that front desks dispense to blokes who forget theirs or who drop them near toilets.  But I had to face it.  Did I want to put my dropped-but-soaped toothbrush in my own personal mouth or seek a new brush through a visit with my front desk friends?

The people at the front desk were very nice…. And I will henceforth carry extra toothbrushes in travel bags.

Good, too, to carry and develop  extra accounts in our sales bags just in case one or two of our critical accounts unexpectedly tumble to the floor due to budget cuts, strategy changes, or personnel moves, leaving gaps in our pipelines and no front desk offering replacements.

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