Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s hard to put it back in. Pundits use this analogy when the president “misspeaks” and has to walk back what he said, or when one of his staff leaks a secret and the White House tries to squelch it.
The toothpaste saying is not literally true. If toothpaste is poking out of the tube, I can suction it back in by squeezing the sides of the tube. If the tube’s final dollop of paste is already on my toothbrush, I can put it back in the tube by performing what I call “open tube surgery.”
The surgery involves cutting off the bottom of the tube, slicing the tube up the middle and out to the sides, then flattening out the wings to create a toothpaste tube triptych. Now I can restore the escaped paste to the copious amount exposed by the surgery.
There are incidents in my life I would like to put back in the tube. Then again, I’ve heard it said that my past is my greatest treasure.