The Norman Transcript

July 18, 2013

Dirt magnets


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The world is a grubby place. It is covered with all manner of nasty things, starting with plain old dirt, road slush, rocks and other unmentionables piled everywhere, including on top of those impossible-to-dust places like the Himalayas. But it is home.

You would think that on a planet nicknamed the “Big Blue Marble,” dirt and its cohorts would be non-existent. How about keeping it contained to one spot so every place else would be clean? Silly, you know that is not possible, not if you are a bipedal dirt lure. After all, even water gets muddy.

In case you overlooked the obvious signs — bloody hot weather, bright sun, lack of rain and strength-sapping humidity — summer is in full Easy-Bake oven mode.

Compared to Venus, it might actually be comfortable. Of course you know that the little “love planet” Venus is hotter than Mercury because that little rock/planet, which travels close to the Sun, has no atmosphere.

Perhaps because of the heat, those pesky sweat glands get a workout without completing even one rep of the Insanity Workout.

Consequently, the skin and the damp clothing become virtual magnets and everything you come in contact with will tenaciously adhere to all clothing, as well as any exposed skin, until someone takes the merciful approach and hoses you down. Or, in the case of children, your mommy makes you take a bath.

Some people do not need an excuse to get dirty. They may actually be living, breathing dirt magnets. Summer, fall, winter or spring, such folks manage to find a way to get their clothes dirty.

My dear mother-in-law used to complain that her husband always wore his newest work clothes whenever he decided to work on the car or any other grease-infested machine. Consequently, most of his undershirts and work clothes were decorated with indelible, black grease stains.

Mind you, she was a resourceful woman who knew all the stain-removing tricks, and some I never heard of until I joined the clan. For example, coke added to a washer full of grimy clothes was supposed to remove stains.

However, even though coke supposedly dissolves fake nails, it never managed to remove those black grease stains Dad managed to infuse into the very fibers of his clothing. Short of using a stick of dynamite, Mom tried everything, but the grease and oil stains stayed put.

As you may have suspected, Hubby is a chip off the old block. He has an unerring ability to find the one nice, unblemished T-shirt left in the dresser drawer and baptize it in black grease. In his case, it seems to be a laissez-faire, relaxed lifestyle choice.

Dirt loves Hubby. Dirt hides around the corner as he goes outside and pounces on him. Call it a dirty welcome, but he doesn’t mind because “a little dirt won’t hurt you.”

Of course, he is not the person who goes 10 rounds every week with some new and exotic grime that has managed to attach itself to his clothing. If you happen to pass by the laundry room during any weekend, it is not unusual to hear the mellifluous voice of the frustrated female therein, speaking in tongues.

Polite version: “Where in Hades did he manage to find that particular shade of grease?” Or “Do fish use indelible paint guns, or are those genetically engineered fish guts smeared all over this shirt?”

Apparently and as luck would have it, the embedded grime philosophy — a little dirt won’t hurt you — is also part of both our children’s attitude toward getting dirty. They plunge into every project with full gusto and come out stinky and dirty.

The good news is that all of them clean up nicely and manage to look great.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels “The Dionysus Connection” and “The Marathon Man” are available at amazon.com. Visit her website, elizabethcowan.com.