It looked a little worn – my toothbrush – this morning, so I reached into my dresser drawer and pulled out the last of a five-pack of toothbrushes and smiled, remembering one of my friends.
When we think about “oral history,” we usually think about collecting stories about something or somebody through interviews. My oral history would include stories about the usual subjects – family, friends, jobs, travel, Studebakers, euphoniums, guitars, schools, and so on – and, in addition, my mouth. I’ve spent a lot of time in dental operatory chairs under the halogen lights with my mouth pried open. So, I’m significantly more-than-the-average-bear careful about dental hygiene, including every-day care like brushing. As in, once you’ve had some of THAT surgery, you never want to have that surgery again.
So, in the course of events, for reasons and at a time I can’t now remember, I was exchanging some of that oral history with a good friend and he said, “I’ve found a toothbrush that I really like. Would you be OK if I sent you some?”
I must have replied, “yes”, because a 5-pack of Nimbus Microfine toothbrushes arrived in the mail shortly thereafter. I tried one immediately and LOVED it. The 5-pack of toothbrushes lasted about 18 months and, other than the odd ‘Oh, I forgot my toothbrush and I’m in a hotel’ emergencies, I’ve used only those Nimbus Microfine toothbrushes ever since.
Every time I pick up a Microfine brush to brush my teeth, there’s at least one second’s worth of friend-remembering. There’s a few more moments of recognition and appreciation every time I buy another 5-pack of the Microfine brushes. My friend listened to some of my most challenging oral history and gave me one of the most thoughtful, most personal, useful, enduring gifts, ever.
That’s about as good a model as you can get for being “top of mind” with someone over years of time.
Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees through better sales strategies and execution. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.
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