Friday, May 8, 2009

Why Mothers Want You To Clean Up Your Room

What better way of celebrating Mother's Day than by cleaning up and throwing out everything that might some day be of value on eBay? None of us wants to be the cause of entire neighborhoods going up in flames after an H-bomb attack.

No doubt my mother was ahead of the curve when she tossed out all of my original blacklight posters from the 1960s, the Janice Joplin autograph from her November 21, 1969 Dane County Expo concert, early X-Men, Spiderman and Fantastic Four comics, as well as assorted signed first edition novels, agit-prop materials, and hundreds of photos of riot-torn Madison during my time on campus. Her excuse: She thought I was never coming home again. I'd left for one afternoon to go down to the Field Museum in Chicago.

I am not a slob. I dust whenever I see air particles dancing around my apartment, or find myself able to blow smoke rings upon exhalation. Used paper plates are placed neatly in the dishwasher alongside unbroken plastic cutlery. Kitchen grime is sand blasted off every six months -- whether necessary or not. I pick up after myself unless the magazines, newspapers, books, and pizza cartons lay there to pick up falling dust or to hide bare carpet or molding floorboards.

My mother once said that if I didn't start cleaning up after myself, I'd have no one other than CDC mandated cleaning crews breaking into my apartment. She was wrong. Every so often I found singing girlfriends willing to tidy up around me -- though credit card charges proved to be more expensive than the Haz-Met crews forced upon me by federal law. Funny how some songs are made for dusting and vacuuming.

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