TASK #11: MR. CLEAN
“Cleaning anything involves making something else dirty, but anything can get dirty without something else getting clean”. Lawrence J. Peter
My mother kept a neat house. Aided and abetted by my sister, our house in rural Ohio was as spic and span as a hospital. They were fierce and determined, and woe to anyone, child, relative or friend, who sullied their pristine environment.
Me, my brother and father just stayed out of the way and made sure we took our shoes off when we walked in the door and aimed our dicks at the center of the toilet. We didn’t help them clean at all. And it wasn’t because we were men and not about to stoop to housecleaning, although
that was part of it…; we didn’t help because they didn’t want us to. They thought that being male meant we were miserable at housecleaning,
barely capable of bathing ourselves, let alone mopping a floor.
Consequently, I entered adult life with no experience, and at first, no interest in the cleanliness of my personal surrounding.
I started to change my opinion when a female overnight guest found a banana peel in the toilet. I explained that I sorta used the toilet as another person might use a garbage disposal, a bit of reasoning that she found inane, and she left me for good that night.
I began to see my little apartment for what it was. A shithole that was not only poorly decorated, but filthy. And one weekend, exactly two days before my mother was coming over for a visit, I decided to do some cleaning.
I went to Walmart and got myself the necessary equipment and got to work. And when I was done the place looked habitable, and I felt pretty damn good.
I still don’t necessarily agree that cleanliness is next to Godliness–I think a good orgasm is next Godliness, but cleanliness is close, and it is a sign of maturity, responsibility and self-discipline.
We don’t control much in this world, but we can control the space we occupy, and we should do so with great care.
You are going to clean your home this week. YOU means ALL of you, whether you live in a studio apartment or a 30 room mansion. If you’re
fortunate enough to employ a housekeeper, give her the week off.
And I don’t mean “once over lightly”. I mean you’re going to clean like a cleaning lady. Your going to attack every room in your abode with vigor–as though every speck of dirt, every invisible microbe is your personal enemy.
Get yourself some soap, water, rags, all-purpose liquid cleaning solution (I like it lemon-flavored), some glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleanser, etc.
Start with the floor. Broom it, swiffer it, mop it. Do the baseboards, the walls, the cabinets, the sinks, the mirrors, the windows. Get a broom up in the corners where the spiders live. Wipe off the lightbulbs.
Clean out the fridge. Shake out the drapes, dust the picture frames, and get busy on that toilet.
And wash your sheets.
Be humble about it. Be thorough. And when you’re done, revel in it. Write about your triumph in your notebook.
Photos by Tom Merton and courtesy of Joe Doe.