Coming Clean Day, Aprilcot 6, 41 A.B. 

     I've been talking in my sleep again. 

     Saying things. 

     Wild things. 

     Things that some people might consider indicative of a wrinkle in 
my soul or a stain upon my heart.

     Apparently Sylvia has heard me say these things as she's laid awake at the foot of my bed at night, unable to sleep because of my muttering.  Apparently she thinks I better shut my lid and clean up my act before I wake my wife and shock her beyond repair.

     I say apparently because Sylvia refuses to talk about it.  "I'm NOT that kind of imaginary wheelchair-bound friend!" is all she'll say whenever I try to raise the subject. 

     And then she slaps me right in the mind again with a book she apparently ordered just for this purpose.

     A book entitled "Heavy Household Appliances And The Men Who Love Them."

     A book sub-titled "12 Steps YOU Can Take To End Man-Machine Perversion."

     Apparently Sylvia thinks my nightly mutterings are an anguished  cry for help when the truth is I'm simply enjoying the best little dreams of my life....


     Washers are currently my obsession of choice.  

     Specifically, the unobtainable washers of faraway laundry rooms.

     It is hard to think of my own washer in quite the same way since it used to belong to my wife's grandmother.  The ones I'm dreaming of are like NOTHING a grandmother anywhere has ever seen, let alone owned and touched.  
     In my dreams they are always filling, churning, foaming, throbbing; forever hot, glistening, steaming, humming; ever eager to have me check their hoses, turn their dials, and adjust their settings as only I can; perpetually ready, willing, and even begging with their open lids to take one more basket-busting load into their fragrant, all-enveloping suds....

     Fluffing my head now and deciding to come completely clean, I find that I must say that sometimes... in fact, on more days than not...  my fantasies are not limited merely to my dreams.

     No, I've done nothing as tawdry as taking my roll of quarters into my own hands and running off to the nearest laundromat in a desperate attempt to find temporary comfort in the soulless cyclings of a prematurely old, public appliance willing to go through the motions for anyone with a bit of spare change and the manual dexterity necessary to stick it in the right slot. 

     Nor have I taken to going to bars, gyms, and other sordid places intending to entice the clothes of strangers into taking a tumble in my Maytag while I watch.   

     Instead, I've taken to slipping off into my own laundry room right after breakfast and starting up my waiting machine. 
     All alone.
     With shades pulled.
     Again and again.
     And with nothing in it.

     I know, I know - you think I'm wasting energy, I'm wasting water, I'm wasting my life when I should be out making more dirty laundry for my One True Washer.
     Is driving a car or watching TV any less a waste of energy?  Is washing a car or bathing a baby any less a waste of water when both are just going to get dirty again?
     And contrary to the views of some religious fanatics I could name, there's a LOT to be said for recreational washer running.  There's a LOT to recommend the philosophy of "Agitation for Agitation's sake"!  
     Beats there a heart so cold or a heart so blind that it cannot yet thrill to the sheer sensual joy of a gaily ticking timer, a crystal clear rinse, an ecstatically spinning tub, or the aroma of bearings being pushed to their limit??
     Man does not wash for the sake of clean shorts alone!!

     This is neither the time nor place for me to indulge in a detailed description of all my intimate laundry room habits.
     But I would like to further dispel the misconception that there is something inherently unnatural or... unwell... in habitually running one's washer devoid of clothes.

     First of all, neither the washer nor any other appliance is being hurt.
     Second, what we choose to do in the privacy of our own laundry rooms is our business (with an occasional assist from Procter & Gamble and whatever whiteners and brighteners we choose to use to enhance our pleasure).
     Third, the suds are much sudsier and last much, much longer.  (Oh, how the mere thought of them makes me want to scream in rapture!!)
     Fourth, there's far less risk of our losing our minds trying to find lost socks in dark washer interiors if we don't put socks in there in the first place.
     Fifth, running our washers empty does NOT add to the world's ever-increasing problem with waste lint.
     Sixth, nothingness is self-balancing and will NOT shrink under any circumstances.
     Seventh, no matter how many different kinds of nothingness you toss into a washer, one kind won't bleed over all the others and force you to dispose of the whole batch before the wife gets home.

     That's all.  I'm done explaining myself.  
     And I'm not going to apologize for anything.
     Especially not when I've just been struck by an irresistible... urge.

     An irresistible urge to refute Sylvia's book's claim that overinterest in percolators as a boy inevitably leads to Mid-Life Heavy Appliance Dysfunction.

     Indeed, an irresistible urge to refute that ridiculous claim by breaking out the special fabric hardener I sent away for and having a real good time with a tub of tin, a bottle of Woolite, and Thee.
     Or at least a few good old-fashioned items of intimate apparel acting as Thy stand-ins.


     It pleases me to think of you doing the same!

     In fact, if you're into phone handwashing -

     OOPS!  Gotta go!  MAJOR OVERFLOW!!!!!!!!!

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Explicit Photo Of Front Loader
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(From the author's personal collection
of bootleg French vocational school training tapes)

Dang! He got by the dogs, too!

1999 Loser Of "Spun Dry" Magazine's
"Win A Day With A Chorus Line" Contest
Immediately After Slipping Past Security
(And Immediately Before Being Drowned By #4's Discharge Hose)

Ansel Adams
"Fun Out West" (1958)
(LIFE Magazine: The Lost Issues)