I feel badly sometimes that I am not providing adequately for my family. No I am not worried about money since I have my own printing press. We also wisely swore off red ink after that unfortunate incident with the Russian squid on Ritz, and the canned squeeze cheese. Especially with these dog days of excessive heat and humidity, I am more concerned about my lack of laundry prowess with stains, ‘whites and colors’. I don’t mind my well deserved ‘hobo-sapien’ image, but I particularly hate for the wife and kid to have to play ‘rag tag’ too, when they skulk among the general population.
Now this really is not my fault because my mother sent me off to college ill-prepared when it came to laundry. I remember only a single lecture on the subject - all of 26 seconds of it as we approached my dorm. My parents slowed the van just long enough to shove me out the door into the REAL world with a single pink laundry basket and a sample pouch of Woolite. My folks had no sage advice about laundry care except to hang my duds IMMEDIATELY when they come out of the dryer or face the public shame and humiliation of a slow and wrinkled death. I was the only kid in college who was paranoid that my twisted-skivvies would be rendered functionally unusable, if the dryer stopped and I wasn’t instantly present to free them from their hot and airy bondage.
It is not that my parents were holding out on me – they just didn’t know any better. In fact to this day, my mother’s washing machine has a timer with a hot and cold button. The dryer has a timer and a start button – that’s it. No pretty windows or fancy LCD lighted panels to tell ideal temperature settings for varied articles of clothing. No buzzers or bells to tell you when things are done because the machine just stops when it’s finished – isn’t that weird? Who would have ever thought that when a machine was DONE with its work it just turns off? Somebody had better tell my stereo and television about this news flash, because I don’t think they got the memo.
Machinery aside, I think my laundry problem is mostly due to the generic Dollar store detergent that we use. You know the stuff where you get a barrel of Smurf-colored syrup for $3.99, when a 4-load ‘ultra concentrate’ bottle of the major brands require a loan (with references) to purchase. My whites just always look kind of gray and the colored clothes always end up as some form of a hippie rainbow, tye-dye thing. I do try to use those fabric softener sheets but I am too cheap to use more than one at a time. So as soon as I open the dryer, the hot clothes, all cooped up and hyper-charged with static, leap from the dryer and cling to me like stink to a French fishmonger.
It’s obvious, my family is doomed to an eternal life of ‘pit-perspiration’ persecution and neck-ring ridicule. As long as we must endure these hot, humid summers , we too must face the fleeting glances of society’s disgust at our pitiful and poorly laundered plight. Like Hester Prynne and Pearl, my wife and daughter should learn to accept their permanent stained existence … or just simply ‘DON’T SWEAT IT’!