A Mother’s Wisdom

crazy-old-women-8My mom was a fountain of wisdom, all of which she attempted, vainly, to pass on to me. She was also stark raving mad. All in all, a pretty cool gal. But I now realize that many of the wise sayings she shared with me over the years are too good, too potentially beneficial to the world at large not to share them with you. So here then is a quick post containing some of the gems of the collected wisdom of my mom.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his sternum.”

“Too many chefs in the kitchen makes great TV.”

“Two wrongs don’t even raise an eyebrow if you’re talking politics.”

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely.”

“Clouds gather before a storm, especially when you’re at a picnic.”

“Ambition is a good servant, but a bad master, and it absolutely sucks on harmonica.”

“Beauty is only skin deep. Under that things get pretty gross.”

“Stop and smell the roses. Most common side effects include itchy, swollen eyes and pain and redness around the smelling area. Do not stop and smell the roses if you are allergic to roses or any of their ingredients. Other, serious complications include seizures, blindness, death, and halitosis. Consult your doctor if you experience these or any other symptoms.”

“The eyes are the windows of the soul. Lasik is the Windex of the soul.”

“A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it does rock out on ‘Gimme Shelter.'”

“Let sleeping dogs lie because they’re not any more likely to tell the truth when they’re awake.”


Why change your spots?

“The leopard does not change his spots. And why would he? He looks fabulous in prints.”


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Two pounds, maybe, depending upon market fluctuation.”

And finally, the saying that she shared with me most often and with the most feeling:

“Sons are the anchors of a mother’s life. In your case tied around my ankles in the middle of the ocean.”

No Vice!

 I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!”
– Barry Goldwater


President Trump, singing the metal version of “Deck The Halls,” and caught in mid “fa-la-la-la-la.”

A lot of people, myself included, feel that President Donald Trump may be a bit of an extremist when it comes to his policies. And his lifestyle. And his douchebaggery.


But I’ve been reflecting, and I think that in my case at least, my problem with him is that he is actually not extreme enough. I think I need more. I need him to go further off track, deeper of that proverbial deep end. I need him to be even crazier.

And as a patriotic American, I feel it my duty to help our First Citizen out in any way that I can. To that end, I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to make his extremism the extremest. You Presidentialness, feel free to adopt any and all of these. My only request is that when you announce them on Twitter, or as it will soon be renamed “The Real Press Secretary,” you include a #TTLA hashtag.

The Wall

One of the pipedream ideas Mr. Trump bandied around to appeal to the more base and paranoid of his followers was the border wall. He proposed that we build a wall between Mexico and the United States, apparently across the entire 1,960-mile span. And of course, in typical unscrupulous-business-practice, he proposed that Mexico pay for the construction. This would be the equivalent of you waking up one morning to find your house surrounded by twenty-foot-high prison walls through which you aren’t allowed to pass, and a fellow in coveralls holding a bill for you.

But is a wall between the two counties enough? After all, there are a lot of Mexicans already in the country. And, I’ve been told, they’re all rapists. Except for the ones that are both rapists and drug dealers. What are we going to do about them?

I suppose we could round them all up, and bring them to the wall, climb a ladder, and throw them back into Mexico. But is even this plan extreme enough? I don’t think so.

Credit: Dreamstime.com.

What I’m proposing is that we build individual walls around every Mexican currently in the country. This would include, just to be safe, naturalized citizens, persons of Mexican descent and anyone with a Mexican name or nickname, like “Paco,” “Pancho,” “José,” or “Donaldo.”

With each person having their own individual walls, it will mean less attention has to be paid to the big wall, and it may not have to be as well-guarded, freeing up valuable resources. Also, think in terms of jobs for real Americans. Millions of bricklayers will find themselves working as many hours as they chose to work, and of course, we’ll need to hire millions of people to make the Mexicans stand still while the wall is being built around them.

I am not a cruel man, and I understand that from time to time these Mexicans will want to move around, perhaps to attempt a new rape. (They will fail, of course, since their victims will be outside the wall.) But if the walls are built with wheels, the entire construct can be moved from place to place.

That should put the dire and constant threat from South of the Border to rest.

Killing Endangered Species/Nuking North Korea

Apparently, in order to be a Republican, it is mandatory to love killing things. And what’s more fun than hunting animals teetering on the edge of extinction? And while the president himself has not indicated that he’s planning on traveling to Zimbabwe or Zambia to his elephant murder on, he has done another of his favorite things, which is undoing anything good that his predecessor managed to do, in this case lifting a ban on bringing elephant trophies into the United States.


kim jong un
Kim Jong Un looks happy here, but imagine how much happier he’d be if there were elephants blowing up all over his country!

He has also talked quite a bit about launching a nuclear bomb or fifty on North Korea, in answer to that nation’s technologically impossible threats to do the same to us, going so far as to call the North Korean head of government, Kim Jong Un, “rocket man,” obviously insulting Elton John by doing so.


But are either of these policies extreme enough? I put it to you that they are not.

And so I propose hunting elephants in North Korea, using nuclear weapons.

Of course, before they can be hunted they will have to be brought into North Korea in great numbers, but again… jobs! All though unemployed elephant handlers who lost their livelihood when circuses, (a fraternity not really known for forward thinking, but are, in contrast to Trump, a prancing bunch of liberals), decided to stop keeping elephant acts in their shows, can now return to doing what they do best: herding elephants around with hooked pikes.

Then once they are in place, we allow wealthy Americans to take turns nuking them. The one downside to this is that there might not be much left in the way of trophies, and it may also kill millions of people, but with over 7 billions of us scampering across the face of the Earth, you can hardly call us endangered.

Endorsing Child Molesters


Judge Roy Moore not only speaking into the microphone but smiling as he describes what he plans to use it for later when he meets up with his 14-year-old girlfriend.

There is no way one can avoid hearing about sexual assault, or even outright rape, (in these cases not even done by Mexicans),  and in the case of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, the allegations are that he did what he did to underaged girls, many of whom feel their lives were ruined by the experience.


Lately, Trump has been sounding very much like he is supporting Moore, and while stopping short of actively campaigning for one of the most reprehensible humans to ever walk the planet, he’s pointing out that since Moore has denied the allegations, they’re probably not true, or at least are no big deal.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has heard Trump’s famous “grab ’em by the hoo-ha,” live mic faux pas. If the presidential candidate can admit to Billy Bush that he basically molests any woman he wants to, why the hell not let senators share the same mentality, as long as they’re Republicans. If a Dem., such as Al Franken, is accused, we need to have him resign immediately.

But is supporting a child-rapist candidate extreme enough? Not even close.

My proposal is to select all Republican candidates not based on their views and plans for the country but on their presence on the Registered-Sex-Offenders list. Let’s stop waiting for our candidates to be accused of committing sex crimes. Let’s selected them based on the fact that we know in advance they have actually been registered for being convicted of them.

Here then is your 2018 GOP ticket:


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Can’t you already hear the president explaining to us that having these guys in office would be infinitely preferable to having a horrible liberal in there?

Others, Too Numerable to List

There are so many other isolationist, white supremacist,  small-minded ideas coming out of the White House these days, that it’s impossible in the context of one web article, to point out, and then expand upon them. But here’s a few quickies:

Ban upon Muslims – Don’t just keep people from predominantly Muslim nations from immigrating to the United States. Reinstate the Crusades, and go hunt them down in their home countries.

Tax Reform – Don’t just allow the rich enormous tax breaks, allow companies that prey ruthlessly upon unsuspecting citizens all sorts of tax loopholes which will enable them to continue to rape the land and enslave their own employees. Bring back roving tax collectors, who go from door to door extracting what is owed the king, err, I mean the president. (Here again… jobs! Someone’s going to have to physically enforce these shakedowns).

Puppy Kicking – Once the every NFL player has been fired for kneeling during the National Anthem, people are going to need a new form of entertainment. And catering to the mentality of the average Trump supporter, I’m proposing the invention of a new sport. All those football stadiums will be filled again, as players attempt kick puppies through the goal post. What heroes will emerge in this dynamic new game?

Ultimately, I, as a private insane citizen, may not have the mental capacity to dream up ever more horrid things to do to the people of the United States and the world, but we can all thank our lucky stars than one has emerged who can continue to think this way.

maxresdefaultLet’s go crazy!


The Hard Questions

The Hard Questions: we ask them so that you don’t have to. Technically you don’t have to anyway, but… Oh, man. One sentence into this post and you’re already giving me a hard time. I can see how this is going to go. But no worries. I shall plod on.

In this post I’m going to pose some serious questions [not], the type that call for serious answers [don’t]. Of course, TTLA is not some fruity-do philosophical journal, which poses questions only to let them flutter off into the air with no intention of ever settling them. Nay, I say! And no, even. We will give you the responses to the questions that have [haven’t] been burning in your soul for so very long. So without further ado, let’s begin.

…for real.
The same dude…

Q: Did you ever notice that you never see Michael Myers of Halloween fame and Mike Myers of Austin Powers/Shrek/Wayne’s World fame in the same place?
A: No. You have never seen them together, for they are one in the same person.

Renfield_1931Q: Renfield is to flies as I am to…
A: …Sammiches. (Go watch the movie!)

Q: Where do babies come from?
A: When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much, and decide they want to share their lives with a little child of their very own, they go online to Babys’R’Us and order one. You can tell how good they’re going to be as parents by whether or not they opt for one-day shipping.

Q: Who is going to win the Superbowl this year?
A: The answer to this depends upon who you ask and which way your politics lean. It will either be the kneelers or the non-kneelers. From what I can gather, it actually has very little to do with who plays football better anymore.

Q: So, which is it? Global warming or no global warming?
A: Again, don’t be sucked in by the science that appears to prove one point or the other. (Ed. note: only one point of view actually has any science backing it up.) (Conservative Ed note: Shut up, you liberal whack-job!) The answer to the question ultimately comes down to which side is better funded. And in general the “Everything is just fine, nothing to see here” people have the deeper pockets.

And finally…


Nothing says the holidays like “DICK.”

Q: Why would someone do this to a pefectly lovely display of Christmas socks?
A: Because there are still good people in the world. Take heart!


There now. Don’t you fill a little less lost? Slightly less confused about this crazy, mixed-up world? What’s that? You’re more confused than when you started?

I could tell you were going to be a problem.

Honors Heaped Upon Me

As a living-room famous author (there are stages to these things, you must realize: living-room famous, locally-famous, nationally-famous, world-famous, and from there it just gets silly), one of the things expected of me is to have an author biography. This is used in various places including, but not limited to, my living room. Other outlets, such as my website, my blog, my Amazon.com author’s page, my Facebook page, my AllPoetry.com site, etc. also use one version or another of the bio.
I’m not going to reproduce the existing bios here, you can hop around to the aforementioned places if you’d like to read them, although I can give you the highlights:

One version states I was born in New York City in 1960 and two years later formed a musical combo known as the Beatles. The bio might lead one to believe this is something I did on my own, but I’d like to use this forum to officially recognize the other guys involved, although I don’t recall any of their names now.

Another bio relates the episode which occurred when I was in first grade, wherein I uncovered a massive Soviet plot to copy sensitive nuclear documents by unwitting six-year-old students, using those oversized pencils without erasers that were so popular in the 1960’s. Mention is made of the class mascot, a nefarious hamster named Comrade Gibbles, who was used to spread fear among the children. I have nothing to add to or subtract from this story. It’s history. Deal with it.

But, in addition to relating important episodes in my life, I think it prudent to enumerate some of the honors I have accrued during my writing career, though I do so with great humility. So I’ve decided to use this forum, (this is a forum, right? I’m using the word correctly?) to explain a little bit about just how freaking awesome I am. (See? Humble!) You, therefore, get the first look at my new bio section…


S.J. Varengo has accumulated a literal roomful of awards over the years, having early on learned that the secret to doing so is to study the writers who have previously won those awards and break into their homes to steal them. Here is a partial list of his triumphs:

  • 00nobelErnest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize for Literature
  • A Hugo Award for Science Fiction, formerly in the possession of Isaac Asimov
  • A Newbery Medal for Children’s Literature, once proudly displayed by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Two Pulitzers, John Steinbeck’s for Grapes of Wrath and a recent acquisition, Harper Lee’s for To Kill A Mockingbird, which just became available during the confusion after her passing.
  • national_award_1118A National Book Award that William Faulkner wasn’t using anymore.
  • Of course, there are numerous others, some well-known, some lesser-known, and some that turned out to be absolute garbage, barely worth the risk involved in obtaining them.

EGOTOn the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s notable that Varengo was the first person ever to complete an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards), completely through the use of larceny. Oh, and, in the case of the Oscar assault and battery; Sally Field is way tougher than she looks.

While his writing style has been characterized as “infused with humor and tenderness in an amalgam that makes it just shy of readable,” his B&E [Breaking and Entering] skills have been praised as “nearly flawless, leaving behind not so much as a teaspoonful of DNA in most cases.”
He has been invited to readings, usually of his rights, in the leading police stations of the U.S. and abroad.
His work has been featured on several popular television programs including “Unsolved Mysteries” and “America’s Most Wanted,” and he is a frequent contributor to the “6 O’clock News.”
When discussing his vast array of honors, Varengo is typically humble and gracious to those who no longer possess the awards, calling them “A great bunch of guys and gals who might want to consider updating their security systems.”

That’s it!

I think it captures the scope of my accomplishments while giving ample credit to the “little people,” which is what I call the race of tiny, two-headed quasi-humans who dwell in the mystical land of “Under My Bathroom Sink.”
But, ultimately, that is a story for another day.

Major Breaking Story: Full List of President Trump’s “Fake News” and “Junk Science” Complaints Leaked!

United States president, Donald J. Trump… cough, cough, gag, choke…

Sorry, I still have trouble saying that without throwing up a little. Let’s try again.

President of the United States… “He Who Shall Not Be Named,” (yes, that’s better), has made headlines repeatedly by denying the veracity of headlines. Just about any time a story hits the airwaves or the pages of the many “Liberal rags” (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.), that paints anything other than a flattering picture of him or his presidency, #45 cries “FOUL!” Notable examples: the story that his own Secretary of State called him a moron, (“Totally fake, made up by NBC.”); climate change, (“Junk science, no credible proof); “Seinfeld” canceled, (“It’s on my TV right now! What are you talking about?”)

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. TTLA has come into possession of a document, in the president’s handwriting, entitled “All the lies and baloney I need to tweet about soon.” In the document, he lists a mind-boggling array of items that he considers “fake news” and/or “junk science.” The scope of the topics is staggering. Here are just a few of the literally hundreds of things President The Donald considers to be “made up.”

  • 00civil-war-002The American Civil War: “Made up by liberal wags to discredit the time-honored and repeatedly proven law of White supremacy, to which I’m totally opposed, (wink, wink!) “
  • European colonization of the United States, “Immigrants could not possibly have built this country because I won’t let them in. Unless they’re rich. Or hot. Oh, and by the way, so-called ‘Native Americans’ are probably radical Islamic terrorist who constitute a vast sleeper cell.”
  • Tobacco causes cancer: “Absolute crap science! How can any group that can write such beautiful and large checks possibly sell a product that is bad for you? When I was a kid they used to tell us 9 out of 10 doctors preferred some brand or another. Doctors never make mistakes, right? I mean, it’s not like they were paid to say that, right?”
  • There is a need for gun control in America: “Why do liberals insist on politicising mass shootings? Don’t they realize that it detracts from my party’s attempts to politicise things like universal health care (a ridiculous concept! everyone knows only the rich need healthcare!) and women’s health issues, (the all-male panel can’t be distracted by people being upset about mass murder! How are they supposed to deny women access to birth control and stop them from making decisions about their own bodies?). Besides, how can a group as skilled at check writing as the NRA be wrong in their belief that guns don’t kill people, and that if the fine gentleman (probably) who shot all those people in Las Vegas hadn’t been able to legally buy all those automatic weapons, he would still have been able to kill them by pointing his fingers at them from his hotel window and saying ‘pow!’ (probably)
  • 00google-earthThe world is round: “Wrong.”
  • The Earth revolves around the Sun: “Wrong.”
  • The Earth is a planet, the Sun is a star: “Wrong! The Earth is the center of the known universe, and I and ONLY I am a star.”
  • Cancer research should receive far more federal funding: “Cancer is junk science. It’s a poor person’s disease. Republicans sometimes suffer from an ailment called ‘money sarcoma,’ but it’s totally unrelated to this so-called cancer. Name one wealthy individual other than David Bowie, John Wayne, Yul Brenner, Anne Bancroft and Steve Jobs who ever died of cancer. Oh, and Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett and Peter Jennings and Ted Kennedy (liberal… deserved it). Oops, Paul Newman. Forgot him.  AND Jack Lemmon. AND Dennis Hopper. AND Walt Disney. Like I said. Nobody!)
  • Water is wet: “Wrong!”
  • Black is black: “It’s white! And well it should be, as white is the superior color!”
  • 052516-mario-trump-screengrab-825x580That whole “grabbing pu**y” episode, caught on video and viewed by millions worldwide: “Fake news, never happened. Unless it got me votes. Then I totally said it.”
  • The crowd for his inauguration was smaller than Obama’s: “Fake! They just switched the photos. Mine was the one where the crowd extended from the Capitol to New Jersey, his was the group of the six hooded KKK dudes with sparklers and ‘Trump Furever! ‘Murica!’ signs.”
  • Hillary Clinton won the popular vote: “Emails! Benghazi! Bill was a perv!”

Sadly, the list goes on and on.

After the leak was made public, we tried to reach the White House for comment, but the operator who took the call had the phone ripped from her hand and all we heard was someone screaming the words “Wrong! Fake! Totally made up!” We have been thus far unsuccessful ascertaining the identity of the speaker, but we have our theories.

Every Rose Has It’s Pesticide Coating

We folks of a “certain age” (100 to 200 years old), often enjoy music from a “certain era,” (the stone-age) which these days generally dwells under the heading “Classic Rock.” There are literally thousands of great songs included in this genre, and we are right to celebrate them and sing them even though most of us can no longer recognize our own reflections in the mirror. The cursed, evil mirror.

But I digress. What I want to talk about today is the fact that not all of the great songs we love were instant classics. Many had to be written, then rewritten, then abandoned, then uncrumpled and rewritten again before they became the masterpieces we know and love. My extensive research has uncovered several less-than-stellar first drafts to some of your favorite tunes.

rs-102416-mick_jagger_1963The Rolling Stones had a timeless classic in the song “Paint It Black,”  but Mick Jagger struggled with the opening line for quite some time, starting with:

“I see a red door and I want it painted a slightly different shade of red.”



Robby Krieger, guitarist for The Doors and composer of  “Light My Fire,” was obviously one of the more civic-minded band members, as can be seen in the first attempt at his famous tune:

“Come on baby,
Light my fire,
Making sure to do so safely and within the parameters of local civic regulations.”

led_zeppelin_photo1Led Zeppelin’s rock anthem “Stairway To Heaven” was no so heavenly in its original format:

“There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold,
And she’s buying used sneakers
On eBay.”


00youngPaulPaul McCartney, widely recognized as one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century, was told by the other Beatles to sharpen his pencil and try again when he came to them with the first iteration of “Yesterday.”

Love was such an easy game to play
Now it turns out that women have feelings
And you’re supposed to ‘listen’ to them.”


A-261760-1350026782-5487.jpegLynyrd Skynyrd’s celebration of the South, “Sweet Home Alabama,” needed a little retooling when the first version stated,

“Sweet Home Alabama,
Where my sister is also my mom.”




isaac-hayes-220_788892fWe could see where Isaac Hayes was going with his original lyrics to “Shaft,” but we’re thankful he toughened them up from:

“Who’s the black private detective
That is very highly regarded in his community
And has a Triple-A rating with the Better Business Bureau?”



1200px-Elvis_Presley_promoting_Jailhouse_RockAnd even the King of Rock and Roll didn’t always strike gold on the first try, as the original words to “Jailhouse Rock,” clearly show:

“Warden threw a party in the county jail,
But the new meat missed it because
Big Bubba had dragged him into a broom closet
Where he repeatedly sodomized him.”

Clearly not what we ended up with.


577446bdSo we thank these musical geniuses. We thank them for not settling for their first drafts, and for not giving up on perfection. I think Neil Young said it best when he didn’t say:

“Hey, hey, my, my,
Rock and roll is on life support….”


A Few Thoughts On Doing Laundry

My wife works out of the house. I stay home and write. It’s a delicate symbiosis which also involves me cooking and cleaning and walking the dog. And doing laundry.

I don’t really mind doing laundry. After you sort it out, it’s really just an activity characterized by brief bursts of action, interrupted by extended periods of time when the machines are doing all the work, and isn’t this just what we were hoping for, Mr. Jules Verne? It leaves plenty of time for other things. Like cooking and cleaning and walking the dog. And preparing to do more laundry.

We live in an apartment complex with a communal laundry room that is secured by a modern lock. I need to do a quick sidebar here. Two thoughts:

  • Modern locks are almost 100% effective if you remember to shut the door when you leave.
  • If you desire to ever retrieve your clean laundry, NEVER set your key on the folding table. Not even for a second. The instant the key hits the surface of that table, the section of your brain tasked with remembering that fact is somehow irreparably damaged and you will walk out leaving it behind. But you WILL remember to securely shut the door, (see #1).

So here are some of my thoughts and observations, which I share with you free of charge:

If you are using a commercial washing machine, the simple migration of a single sock from the left to the right of the drum is sufficient to unbalance the load, which you will only discover 34 minutes later, when your timer goes off to tell you that the cycle should be done. HA! You now have an additional 20 minutes to wait. For some reason the machine in our building which is famous for this always goes rogue with exactly 20 minutes remaining. I’m sure it has something to do with its childhood.

You’re not fooling anyone, smiling baby washing machine!

While you’re waiting for the washer, which you meticulously rebalance using a plethora of man-tools and the calculus, you have the choice of starting another load in the washer that did spin out and finish, or of waiting for the wounded child. Here is a natural law, which cannot be debated, because… science: if you do not stand there for the entire 20 minutes, the machine will unbalance again. If you do wait like a schmuck outside Betsy Farlow’s door on prom night, only to learn she left a half-hour ago with Tad Benson, it will run through the remainder of the cycle with an angelic “who, me?” expression on it’s flat, metallic face.

And even if you do start the other machine, your delicate timetable is now all thrown off. Your months of planning, (which, by the way, is why you have so much damn laundry to do in the first place), the countless spreadsheets, the Visio diagram, indicating the precise blend of chemicals and water temp to color ratios… all gone. All for naught.

Eventually though, you’ll get the second round started. For me the second load is where the bulk of my threads show up, as I always do the wife’s first, in case I am struck down between loads. Then I know that, at the very least, she’ll have clean underwear for my funeral.

Men’s underwear will be this clean for exactly ten seconds after putting them on, then – NEVER AGAIN!

I, however, probably will not. Not even if I get that second load done. Can anyone explain to me at what point in a man’s life wiping his ass no longer works? Without variation, every time I do laundry, I look at the inside of my drawers and I say, “this underwear cannot belong to an adult male human being.” [ed. Note: according to every female writer on the internet, that is exactly how you can tell it does belong to an adult male human being.]

There are times when I look at my underwear and I fear for the life of the person who wore them. This is not just soiled clothing. This is a crime scene. Murder most foul. I’m not kidding. Then I remember, that I am the person who wore those and the shame becomes almost unbearable. I shout at the unbalanced washer, “You think you’ve got problems, buddy? Did you see this pair of underwear?”

Invariably it ignores me, too concerned about its own issues.

Men who do laundry, and whose wives have taught you the beauty and mystery of pretreating heavily-soiled clothing, I have a tip for you. If you want your pretreating spray to last longer, just throw your underwear in the garbage. It will be less of an expense in the long run just to buy more. Pretreating spray is not cheap. And you only need two or three pair anyway, amiright?

Funny only on TV.

Another thing: over-sudsing, that staple of the American situation comedy, is far funnier on TV than when it happens to you in real life. On TV you laugh, maybe Ed O’Neil gets a little suds goatee, and then the scene ends. If your machine oversudses (and I’m sure that’s not a word), it is never over. And I never get a cool suds goatee either. I get like an Oompa-loompa suds hairdo. It’s awful.

This one probably has one more wash/dry cycle before it’s gone forever.

My wife has an elaborate series of rules for what can and cannot go into the dryer after it’s washed, and I have not memorized them, nor are the written down, nor are they even the same from minute to minute, from load to load. Apparently, there are certain things that will continue to shrink, no matter how many times they are washed and dried. I try to counter this feminine logic by pointing out that if this is true, they will eventually disappear altogether. I will one day open the dryer door, only to find that the machine is empty, save for a note left behind saying, “She told you we’d keep shrinking!”

There is at least one garment that is erroneously dried every time I do laundry, and this, I can report without fail, legally invalidates any brownie points potentially gained for doing the job in the first place. One mis-dried top, and I’m sleeping on the couch, possibly until the next time laundry day rolls around.

Also, there is a proper number of dryer sheets that must be added to every load dried. That number is two. If I somehow only put one sheet in, the entire load will fuse into a giant, angry ball, bound by enough static cling to light the Vegas strip for a month.

If on the other hand, two sheets stick together and I do not discover this, thereby placing three into the machine, any towels in the load instantly become 100% water repellant, and rubbing them on your body, even for an hour, will fail to remove one drop of moisture. You will air-dry long before this cloth absorbs the faintest trace of wetness from your shivering form.

“You can let him in, he used two dryer sheets!”

But two sheets! Two is the God-molecule! It is the ticket to Valhalla, not glorious death in battle; two damn dryer sheets! Your clothes won’t even consider clinging to one another. It’s like a family reunion where everyone comes, in spite of the fact that they all hate each other. Your towels could drain the ocean, just by laying them on the beach for five minutes. And the aroma! Don’t get me started on the sweet, undefinable scent of the dryer sheet. The ones we use claim to be “fresh linen” scented. I wonder though. Doesn’t the linen take on the scent of the dryer sheet anyway? Isn’t fresh linen actually “two-dryer-sheet” scented?

And what of the other varieties? “Springtime?” Depending on where you live this might not be a pleasant odor at all. Springtime in the Bronx, when the Bronx River swells and washes up all the unfound dead bodies from winter… not what I want my laundry to smell like. “Garden Fresh?” What if I’m allergic to the flowers in that particular garden? Could be a nightmare!

Let’s call a spade a spade, and start naming all dryer sheets what they really are anyway: “Undefined Pleasantly Scented.”

A final word about dryers. The coin-op dryers in our building cost $1, and for that you get 45 minutes of drying time. This is never enough. I could have one lace doily, drying all by itself, and after 45 minutes it’s still damp. Fortunately, in a rare act of altruism, the manufacturers of our machines allow you an extra fifteen minutes if you deposit an addition quarter upon startup. But you have to do it at the outset, there’s no provision for the extra fifteen if at the end of 45 you find that your clothes are not done, (and you will, my friend, you will). In that case it’s another whole dollar, buddy. Hard cheese to you!

I get heat from my wife and, oddly, my daughter for doing this, but I ignore them because I know I’m right.

I say “oddly” concerning my daughter because until 2015 she never washed a single article of her own clothing. Daddy took care of that. And let me tell you something people: teenaged girl humans make adult male humans look like models of spotlessness. I know, I know. You guys are dealing with that special circumstance which marks the end of childhood and the commencement of womanhood, and gives you the legal right to torture, maim and kill male human beings on a monthly basis. (When they tell you that you can only be killed once, they lie, and they have never lived with women when that “thing” happens). So yes, I get all that. But I was under the impression that there were products designed to help deal with that situation. Isn’t it, like, a multi-billion dollar industry?

But I digress.

Once all of the washing and drying is done, you’d think the job was finished, wouldn’t you. But it’s not. Because now there is folding, and in the case of socks… matching.

Folding is not too bad really, and I do it right in the laundry room. Remember the folding table? The one that causes you to forget your key? Well, brainwashing is not its only function. You can actually fold clothes on it. Imagine! (The top of the dryer also works nicely for this, in case you want to use the folding table for something else, like to store your key). [ed. Note: DON’T!!!]

But sock matching. That is another beast altogether. This is again an area in which my wife is very particular. Every sock has one exact match. Even if I have five pairs of identical socks, I will always, in her eyes, pair them up incorrectly.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there’s is not some validity to her position. Socks are a mysterious and dark-hearted race. How else can you explain their propensity for one of the partners constantly running off, abandoning its mate to a dreary existence in that black hole known as “the sock-bag?” (We’ve had one for nearly 30 years, which my wife still holds out the hope will one day be emptied by the tearful reunion of every broken relationship represented therein.)

“Explain it to me, Scully. Explain it and I’ll believe you.”

Even when one does not go off, to join the circus probably, they still are malicious and mischievous. For example, I have a cohort of socks with a nifty black logo identifying them as being related to all the others from the same bag. However, after owning them for several months, I began to notice that some were fully two inches longer than some others. How in heaven or hell is such a thing possible? They all came from the same batch, out of the same plastic bag, and have been worn by the same person (me) on the same two feet (mine) which are (I swear to God) approximately the same size. There is certainly not a two-inch difference between them. Like one is bound geisha-style, but I ran away before they did the other one.

Then there are the far more insidious ones that look the same except maybe the elastic band at the top is a few millimeters different, or one has a lavender toe and the other also has a lavender toe, but two shades lighter. The older I get the more I’m inclined to agree with cavemen and hillbillies: socks are overrated.

I know I make all of this sound fairly horrendous, and that’s because it is. But the fact of the matter is that eventually it comes to an end. You fold the last pair of inexplicably undefeated men’s underwear. You match the last demonic sock, (sidebar: it’s no coincidence that the evillest team ever to play baseball is the Boston Red SOX). You attempt to restore your wife’s last tiny shrunken shirt to something resembling adult clothing, as opposed to a newborn’s onesie. You’ve done it! You’ve finished the job! You’ve won!

And then you take of the clothes that you sweated up while doing the laundry and throw them into the hamper. And like a black seed planted in forsaken soil, it begins again.