The other night I was lying in bed reading a new book and laughing so hard the bed was shaking. Oodgie looked over at what I was reading and asked, "What is that?"
"It's a lumberjack punching Santa Claus"
"No, there's more," I said. "Let me read something to you."
Time for a pop quiz: What's more awesome than a lumberjack punching Santa in the face? (A) Nothing, or (B) All of the above. I gave this quiz to my friend's wife and she got the wrong answer. She kept asking questions like "what's so cool about punching Santa Claus in the face? That's not cool, that's mean." Wrong answer, bitch.
"What's wrong with you?"
We've had a few conversations lately about the difference between men and women. Most of those conversations revolve around our divergent tolerances for filth. I, for example, firmly believe that if you can't see it, it must not be dirty. And if I keep my focus directly forward, preferably towards a glowing screen of any variety, I don't have to see much of anything.
Oodgie takes a more
flawed holistic view, in which she scans the entire apartment, cataloging every misplaced toy and every food-crusted fork stuck to the counter like it's been bolted there. The problem with this approach, in my opinion, is that it makes it difficult for you to focus on the task at hand (see above) and creates unnecessary discomfort and unhappiness. When she hits her threshold she begins cleaning up and (as I realize about ten minutes later) gets annoyed that I didn't instantly bounce up and start Windexing the floor with her.
Unfortunately, I think this is one of the great chasms between men and women. I actually try hard to do my fair share around the house, but I'm on a different time-line. It's on my list of things to do, but I'm doing something else right now. I know I'll get around to it soon, but I prefer to save up the work so it's worth the energy. Given a choice I would:
- run the dishwasher only when squeezing another knife inside would tear the tray
- file the bills only when our insurance policies and bank statements block the backspace key on the keyboard
- do laundry only when I'm forced to reuse the underwear at the bottom of the hamper
- fetch fresh toilet paper only when I have to waddle out of the bathroom with my butt-cheeks clenched and my pants around my ankles to get it
- clean the tub never. There's water in it every day...it must be clean.
The flip side of this is that cleaning is more of an event to me, to be accompanied by a decent soundtrack (may I suggest Pyromania?) and involving overturned furniture, several rolls of paper towels, duct tape and a leaf blower. When I finally hit my breaking point, I'll take the time to reorganize books so proportional sizes are arranged together, repair the plumbing, and dust under the rugs as part of the same exercise. When I'm done with the place it looks like the centerfold of a Pottery Barn catalog and smells like a dewy meadow at the cusp of a spring dawn.
Which way is better? I'll wager the answer would split down gender lines. Both have their merits: mine because it's more thorough and allows for more free time, hers because the more she cleans the less likely I am to hit my threshold, thereby postponing the need for me to turn off The Lost Boys.
What's this have to do with a lumberjack punching Santa in the face? Very little, it turns out. But if you were to replace the lumberjack with Dirty Harry, Santa with a dinosaur, and the fist with a lava-coated ninja-blade, then...well, that guy probably wouldn't clean the house much either, would he? He's too busy kicking asses! But you'd be safe from dinosaurs, wouldn't you?