What's the USE in hoUSEwork?

Next to leaf-blowers and the Olympics, housework is humankind's silliest invention.

        Doing the dishes is not part of the argument, since I'll admit that eating breakfast cereal over crusted lasagna leftovers is pretty disgusting. It also spoils the taste of the milk.

       But take dusting. Please.

       Whether one is whisking a traditional feather duster or some revolutionary new patent-pending dust-busting thingamabob AS SEEN ON TV, dusting is essentially the displacement of airborne particles from a table lamp to the floor, whence it will inevitable rise again to settle on the darn lamp. Dusting is the housekeeping equivalent of Sisyphus rolling his rock up a steep hill. It is pointless.

        Then there's washing out the tub, which makes less sense than cleaning ashtrays. It is clear that the whole concept of bathing is to remove dirt from one's person, and leave it in water which is then discharged from the house. Why then laboriously wipe off the line of residual dirt only to recycle the wash rag into one's washing machine? Washing out the tub merely transfers the most stubborn of one's personal dirt from body to supposedly clean clothes. It is ridiculous.

       Cleaning windows? Puh-leeze. You'll agree that windows are panes of glass that allow light in and viewing out. Smudges and streaks serve to cut glare from incoming sunlight and in no way impair the ability to see all large, colourful or other worthwhile sights outside. Conversely, a transparent and squeaky-clean window is as glaring as a gold-capped tooth: a selfish indulgence that is also instant death to small birds.

       The cleaning of bathroom mirrors is also a deeply flawed activity. The small detritus that has sprayed onto the mirror, after all, is generally comprised of toothpaste, saliva, hair gel, or make-up. Assiduously wiping it away only signals your insane paradox that you can have this stuff on your skin, in your hair, or in your mouth, but cannot bear to look at it. Madness.

       I have know householders so frenzied that they regularly move the fridge to clean behind it, even though no human eye will ever look there. I have also seen supposedly normal people wash their ice trays. With water. People, I want to yell, THAT'S THE SAME STUFF THAT'S ALWAYS IN THERE!

       My biggest beef by far, however, is with the eternal tidying up, also know as straightening up or neatening.

       It should, of course, be called what it really is: hiding things. Look, if your house has an area of 2,000 square feet and its residents possess material things which total, say, 100 square feet, it does not matter where you put them. It is an immutable law of physics that your stuff will still comprise five percent of your space. Stuffing it in closets and drawers has not made the stuff disappear. Please note that while a tidied, straightened or neatened house resembles a cricket pitch or a parking lot, more people would rather amble through the happy clutter of a garden, a forest, or a yard sale.

       This leaves us with vaccuming, which the Brits call Hoovering, having sensibly named a bizarre activity for a weird American who simultaneously enjoyed law-breaking, law-keeping, cross-dressing, cracking skulls, torture, pole-dancing, and wire-tapping.

       I challenge all vaccum disciples to do your thing for twenty minutes. Now empty the bag. Vaccum again. Empty. Repeat.

       You will note that the bag is always just as full as it was the last time.

       Listen carefully now: if your vaccum cleaner gathers just as much dirt every twelve minutes as it does every four days, it will certainly pick up just as much gunk every three weeks and even every four months. Trust me on this.

       It is also revealing to note that scientists (who are respectable perfectionists, by the way, yet NEVER clean their laboratories) consider that the rise in asthma and allergy afflictions are directly attributable to overclean homes, where children do not build up enough resistance to germs and bacteria.

         So do the dishes by all means.

         Then skip the housework. And get to writing.

The End

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