First, let me say that I have all of the self-discipline of a two-year-old Labrador alone in the house with a 55-gallon trash can full of feminine hygeine products and baby diapers.
That’s why I bought a fine book called A Man’s Life: The Complete Instructions. Well, actually I stole it. It was one of my self-prescribed fringe benefits at my old job–you Haft bastards, are you listening? I used to carry it religiously on my long-distance flights because it contains detailed instructions about how to land a 747. Until someone stole it from me, that is.
Anyway, that’s beside the point. That book also gives fine instructions about how to wash dishes. Briefly described (and no doubt horribly recounted), it goes like this:
Wait until Sunday. Before the game, throw all the dishes into the sink. Fill the sink with hot water and a good glob of liquid soap.
Watch football. Wait until halftime, and let the Universal Solvent work its magic.
Run in at halftime and kick some ass. You should be done rinsing before kickoff.
Well, I tried that. Unfortunately, I was called away on some no doubt important mission and failed to return to the dishes at halftime. So I had to let them sit.
That was when Washington still had a chance to make the playoffs.
Other dishes joined the original set over the months. Some didn’t make it to the sink, but instead became their own Junior Science Projects where they lay: the bathroom, the coffee table, beside the bed. After a time, the mold stopped growing, and I was left with an army of crustacean-like kitchen sentries, zealously guarding their complete takeover of my apartment. Here a fragile pilsner-fungiform hybrid would recon the computer, there a chitinous salsa dish would dutifully observe the television. All’s quiet on the home front, they silently reported weekly to the fungal nerve center in my sink.
Then I got word that my parents were coming to visit. Only a week in advance. It was dirty dish Gotterdammerung, with the entire lot being swept into the sink to soak.
It didn’t work.
Upon draining the sink after five days, the beseiged kitchenware set in motion its counterattack: Operation Drano. It caught me completely unawares, as I discovered for the first time that I do not have a–what do you call them? The whizzy things that eat all your sink muck and don’t like forks and bottle caps. Those things. I was forced to divert my parents to other venues. Afterward, I plotted my revenge.
Attrition. The dishes soaked for two weeks, with occasional draining once I felt that the Red Devil and the bleach was wearing thin. They steadfastly ignored my demands for unconditional surrender. Tonight was their demise. The dishes, sorely pressed, vomited forth gelatinous bottle-caps, cigarette butts, spare change, and septic cellophane. A last ditch attempt on the part of one anonymous piece failed when I successfully prevented a prophylactic from getting sucked down the drain, but they all fought like the Hitler Jugend at the gates of Berlin. The kitchen still reeks with the aroma of fermented orange juice and kitchen-cleaner. A few die-hards soak still, but the battle is won.
The horror. The horror.
Let the lessons of tonight resound through the ages: I will never wait this long before washing the dishes again. Never forget!