We are in the middle of a crisis at the Burn homestead; our dishwasher is broken.
This may not seem like such a big deal to you, but believe you me, this crisis has thrown off years of careful planning in the field of work avoidance.
You see, I am a man, and am therefore genetically programmed to expend an inordinate amount of energy devoted entirely to avoiding household chores so that I have the time to relax and recoup the energy I expended avoiding the housework in the first place.
Chore-wise, I had a pretty easy time of it growing up in my parent’s home. I was the last of six children so that, by the time I came along, my older siblings had pretty much drained away all the energy my parents had in admonishing them to do their household chores. So, tragically, I left home untrained in the arts of housecleaning. This was especially tragic for my wife.
After we were married, my wife very patiently attempted to train me how to pick laundry up off of the floor, wash the floor behind the toilet, and spray blue water on mirrors. When, after a few years, I had mastered these basic tasks, we moved on to graduate training that involved household duties like putting things away where they belonged after I was finished with it, sorting laundry into different color-coded piles, and knocking the winter sludge off of my boots before I walked across the kitchen floor my wife had scrubbed clean just hours before.
More years passed, and as often happens, the ravages of time begin to take their toll on my memory and I forgot how to do the basic things. So before I could proceed to doctoral level tasks like actually doing the laundry, I had to go back to remedial school to relearn tying up the trash when the bag is full.
The necessity for all of the preceding training exercises is nothing but pure hogwash of course. Men can perform simple cleaning chores. Appearing to be made up of nothing more than a bunch of left thumbs is all part of the careful plan than we men execute in order to get out of doing the housework! Although, I suppose that in stating this in print, I have pretty much let the proverbial cat out of his bag (which, by the way, needs to have his litter box changed).
We husbands have gotten away with this carefully laid out plan by cunningly lulling our wives into complacent acceptance of our thumbfulness by faithfully and successfully completing one household chore, often times without even being asked. That is, doing the dishes. Yes, for time immemorial, men have been washing, drying and putting away dishes, even after large social gatherings like family weddings. This incidentally explains why the wildly successful crystal wine glass-making industry makes their fine crystal wine glasses so delicately thin. They know that men, the same sort of men that operate pile drivers and pneumatic hammers, are washing their crystal ware.
With the invention of the dishwasher, men throughout the world celebrated by burning their rubber gloves in public. Women could not understand our jubilation, but this defiant act directly resulted in the formation of the Environmental Movement.
We were ecstatic because the arrival of the automatic dishwasher freed us from the heavy yolk of our household chores. Finally, all that free time we were promised with the advent of the information age was in our grasp, men’s grasp anyway.
So now you understand why there is a crisis at the Burn homestead. With our dishwasher broken, I have had to resort to washing and drying the dishes by hand again. Consequently my hands are getting all dried and chapped. I would put on some rubber gloves, but they were outlawed after the glove burning incident.
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.