Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Free

Immaculate Equal Wrongs

Housework is the front line in the ‘gender’ tussle. Who is going to do it? Women are still the world’s slave in this department, usually.

Oldest of six kids, Cheap Dude assisted mom’s “homemaking" from earliest memory, while dad finished school and worked full time. He swore that when he was a dad, he would be his lover’s co-worker, not overseer.

So when Dudine began working “outside the home," and returned to college full time, he took full charge of their sons and their messes, while working 50-60 hours a week. Women are expected to do that sort of thing all the time, he reasoned; reverse the genders and no one blinks. But family, friends, and the kids were aghast--”you’re doing what!?”

Surprise! It is not gender that turns women into angry witches; it is the endless, thankless drudgery of running a household. Men simply become assholes since by definition they can’t be witches. Either way, the task, as usually structured, is infuriatingly impossible for anyone. On bad nights he wondered if, through the centuries, only their paychecks kept legions of men from being murdered in their sleep by overstressed matriarchs.

Whatever your primary sexual characteristics, trying to ‘single parent’, while working full time, feels like one huge stressful ongoing failure. Unless you give up sleep to clean, your home ends up looking like a landfill after a hurricane.

When children are involved, one solution is obvious. They need to know how to scrub a toilet, to start. Finally, a use for those howling offspring. Don’t lie by pretending it’s fun. Just teach ‘em it sucks but do it anyway. Much like life. (Also, for the record: confiscating electronic devices is not child abuse, no matter how often.)

The final solution to this winless war is to simply quit worrying about it. A clean house does not make you a better person, nor higher class. It might mean you are a good kid boss. Most likely it means you wasted a bunch of time cleaning stuff for no real reason, or paid hard cash for someone--a woman, of course--to do what you could have done yourself. Let it go!

Cleanliness is not next to godliness, nor is the phrase in any holy book. For most working people, cleanliness is next to impossible, to paraphrase “Pig-Pen.” Ignore dust and dirt, follow your nose, and focus on what stinks, or soon may. When both adults are working, a coin flip is the only fair way to determine the ultimate toilet scrubber, or Rancid Milk Refrigerator Spill Containment Specialist.

Fairness is the real issue anyhow. Stop doing 90% of your cleaning, and split the other 10%. A breeze then, no matter how foul!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Laundry Exposed!

For any honest discussion about the concept of laundry, we must travel back into the distant mists of time. Before fabric softener, lint rollers, dry cleaning; before the electric, the wringer, the washboard. (Forget altogether the preposterous evil of “ironing,” now and forever.)

How did such an onerous tradition get started? When did humanity get so puffed up it had to have clean clothes all the time? How dirty is dirty? Is dirt bad? Save 300% at once: redefine filth, make “laundry day” once a month. Wearing the same shirt as yesterday is legal in all 50 states.

Sticks/rocks, a river; there is nothing else needed on your bi-annual laundry day. That’s right, make it bi-annual and save another 500%, BAM! Whack the clothes with rocks or sticks, rinse, repeat. Skip the gym workout by using heavier rocks and sticks.

Throw clothes over bushes or spread on someone’s lawn to dry. “Clotheslines” can be strung between nails across the living room, or between fence post and non-running car. If the sun shines, and you use an electric dryer, you no longer get to pretend you are “concerned about the environment.” Also, save 100% on “fabric softener”—skip it. (What a successful scam that became!)

The invention of the laundry bat was a grim milestone in the history of laundry. Really just a prettied-up stick, but soon all the peasants were too good for their plain old one. This began a downward spiral of technology to our almost-mandatory electric washing machines.

A man beating laundry at the local creek this week would be mocked, or assumed to be insane. (A woman less so, but that’s an ongoing slavery issue.) Even the poorest borrow mom’s washer now and then.

Compromise: just wash everything at once in the bathtub. Warm water, pee on ‘em for de-greasing (ammonia), maybe even a little soap of some kind. Walk on ‘em to agitate. Get naked and clean self too! Rinse a couple times. Wring ‘em out by hand, hang ‘em throughout the bathroom and the rest of the house to dry. That way no one has to know how cheap—or broke—you are. More folks do a version of this than will admit to it.

Free Washcloths!

Clean towels sat for a few days in a basket underfoot. After 23 married years Cheap Dude knew which tests of wills could be won, and which were at best endless attrition. He began folding one bored afternoon, and noticed a tiny rip in one holy towel had grown large.

A pair of scissors, and a rotten towel became eight new washcloths!  Or shop towels, if one is too special to wash with un-hemmed cloth.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hank and Jesus: Holy Alliance

Perhaps if one pretends their poverty is voluntary it will seem less miserable. Act like it is a vow, to concentrate on heaven’s treasures. Three-day beard and dirty shirt are acceptable for a free-lance monk. Use the same bowl for haircuts and begging. Just say Om.

“The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?”

All the stuff everyone carries around—what a country full of useless crap. Better to give it all away, be poor on purpose. If one’s car breaks down, let a charity haul it off, and be done with it. Big deal. Get rid of the bicycle too; walk, take the bus, or hitchhike.

“Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”

No one has ever died from wearing the same pants four days in a row. “Fashion” exists for one reason: to make sure people buy too many clothes. You have more than you need; get rid of ‘em.

“…the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that the corporations may be enriched.”

Plan life like an extended backpacking trip. One extra set of clothes, a little stove. A can opener, a toothbrush, the bowl, a spoon. Sell all else and get a warm bedroll and sturdy boots.

“No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion.”

Freedom! Imagine, every unemployed human wandering around, begging, looking for work, stealing. Making the rich people nervous. Beginning the revolution: occupying the world!

“None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty.
“When he [or she!] has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now….”
(All quotes so far by Hank Thoreau, Walden, 1854.)

There’s nothing we can do to the greedy bastards who took so much from us; their lawyers and government minions work overtime to protect them from justice. But we can walk away. If we refuse all further participation in the culture of acquisition, we cut ‘em off at their source. If no one buys what they are selling, they eventually end up camped in the woods with us, wondering what’s for dinner.

“…Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The Holy Bible, New International Version, Luke 12:15

“…do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” Luke 12:22-23
(Last two quotes from the Jesus whom Christians pretend to worship. If they ever actually followed His teachings, capitalism would collapse and world revolution would begin.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

No Need to Breed

Good news. “Romance” is only hormones trying to trick folks into breeding. It seems important, all the time, for almost everyone. But, besides the low price fun, what is the reason for it now?

The world needs no more children. None. It has been “replenished” and then some. No man needs four wives and 23 kids unless he plans to eat some of them. There is no longer a sane reason to make even one baby.

You may or may not find someone you can tolerate—and tolerates you--and live comfortably bored ever after. Long relationships are a combination of perseverance and luck. Adding a baby merely guarantees that a couple will be too busy and poor to ever have fun again. (Also, crying babies add a touch of made-for-TV drama to fights over kitchen duty.)

Call it romance or call it the need to breed, the urge is the same. And in this enlightened modern day, people can do everything they used to do, times ten, without actually breeding. No need to sneak around or feel guilty. Most county clinics pass out the breeding prevention free. Around the world, every night, without any whining brats ruining the mood, indefinitely--praise God and government!

The problem remains of how couples should amuse themselves the rest of the time. Call it romance anyhow, that breeding ritual called “dating.” How cheap can the thrills be got?

The most obvious is all the stuff the couple used to do alone. The inherent eros of “sitting around reading” is highly recommended, and can lead to titillating “sitting and talking.”

Walking begins outside the front door and costs nothing but calories. Wear clothing, especially shoes. Most settlements have a radically socialist “town park” in which to frisk about. The extra-frisky may want to go “all the way”—to the grocery store, and pick up dinner.

Sharing food bonds couples in the one biological imperative more urgent than breeding. Lip-smacking intimacy, stuffing nourishment into pie-holes together, may be the real climax of the evening, if one can cook well.

Church is couples friendly, if dull. At home afterwards, pray together nude; the goal is to cry “Oh my God!” at the same time. Amen?

Never attend pro sporting events; local leagues are just as intense, and the snow cones way cheaper. School and community bands’ unprofessional enthusiasm keeps their cacophony entertaining as well. Walk to these venues of course.

All reasons to have children are selfish. No problem, people are supposed to take care of themselves. So if you want a little person to boss around, a mandatory friend who can’t get away from you, a few more farm hands, or just a cute little cuddle-bug, arrange dictatorship of one of the unclaimed, pre-made models. “Adopt” if you insensibly feel you must have a child.

Yes this is good news. Do the deed when you feel the need and consent is decreed; just plan ahead—no need to breed.

While creating his own dirt-cheap "Valentine's Day" card, (in a lame attempt to obtain consent from Dudine,) Cheap Dude wondered where the ubiquitous cartoon "heart" shape came from. He came up with an answer, after thinking "long and hard." Tip: it's not a heart.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dueling Appliances, Hurry, and Walnut Canyon

Dueling Appliances

After a two a.m. pee, Cheap lay awake on the couch. He heard the refrigerator click to life and begin its electric grumble. Then gas furnace hissed and roared to life, blasting heat. American Genius: Trying to keep a metal box cold, inside another metal box you are trying to keep warm. This is the best way?

A refrigerator is not a necessity to begin with. The grocery stores are open every day, why not buy perishables when you plan to eat them? Certainly no one needs six foot monster food closets. A mini-fridge, like motel rooms, maybe.

Walnut Canyon below Fisher Point

Hurry Up and Wait

Most small town Arizona folks hate Arabs, though they don’t know a single one. They give extra money to the oil sheiks every day anyhow. Proof that the propaganda machine is working as planned.

First off, no one—NO ONE—needs to drive every day. Car pool, take the bus, plan ahead once in a while, if it’s not too much trouble, spoiled babies.

Second: slow down! Leaving stop lights, near-squealing tires waste gas and rubber. (That’s why it’s mostly kids who “burn rubber.” They haven’t bought their first set of tires yet.)  Hurry, everyone race to the next light, and stop at the last second possible. Then, zip, off to the next light. Do people not know where gasoline comes from? Do they not know that speeding and slamming brakes waste gasoline? Racist Christian rednecks hate Arabs deeply and irrationally, yet freely hand them extra cash every hurried drive.

Real Cheap Afternoon

Walnut Canyon north of Lake Mary 2-7-12. Windy quiet overcast. Trail slick ice, sloppy mud, rocky; slow hiking, careful not to fall. Brief sunshine halfway. Cheap and son talked about everything. Cost: less than two bucks, for gas. A buck for lunch maybe.

On the shade slopes some trails were so steep and slick they slid on their butts. Wet seats but safer, and just windy enough to air dry.

This hieroglyph was discovered at the base of a sandstone cliff. A message from the not-very-ancient ones, perhaps.

Back on top, looking south. Peanut butter sandwiches and apples, old school.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Free Adrenaline Fun Time

Optional adrenaline supplements will be popular as long as daily life is drudgery. Forever. But extreme thrill-seeking behavior requires time and money. Until now, thanks to Cheap Fool.

Caveman adrenaline was plentiful, chasing and wrestling down dinner, or running to avoid being dinner. Large-scale agriculture made life so easy, crazy stunts were devised to get the fix, like warfare and orgies.

How effortless now! After interminable cartoon hours brawling alien trolls, jumping off high places for no reason, and running from nazi dragon zombies, video “gamers” are as shaky and excited as if they had left the couch. But not cheap.

Some folks’ adrenaline switch requires more than cartoons and wrist movement. But speeding and reckless driving require a running car. Rock climbing, hang gliding, bungee jumping, need gear and a shiny truck. Shooting, parachuting, shooting parachuters, or shooting while parachuting, all cost for logistics.

Therefore a public service announcement. The following may induce extreme adrenaline thrift:

1. Power tools. Loud, dangerous, and easily borrowed. Don’t bother reading instructions or safety warnings. Remove all guarding. Drink heavily if someone buys. Use inappropriately, like an electric saw to trim toenails. If possible, spray blood about; nearly all who see it get a free adrenaline shot.

2. Non-swimmers trying to swim freak right out. Under-inflated “floaties” nearby help narrowly escape drowning. Swimmers get the same effect with ankle weights.

3. Poor planning on a foot voyage. Lack of food water or map switches you to the near-death terror track. Lost, hungry, thirsty—and energy to run ten miles.

Hike to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in a snowstorm!
4. Admit to your frightened community that you are atheist, communist, muslim, gay, or whatever the latest trendy boogeyman. Now, adrenaline pumps when anyone approaches, since no one actually believes in love--not for those people, anyway.

5. Run and run and run. Sooner or later, that “second wind” will kick in--and you can run some more.

6. Have “unprotected” sex with strangers. The adrenaline of anonymous hook-up plus a second jolt, AIDS fear, like the pre-antibiotic millennia. Not recommended for the married; divorce lawyers, judges, and furious spouses are expensive adrenaline.

7. Verbally abuse bar bouncers, police, and angry rednecks--often the same one person. Sticks and stones may involve pricey broken bones and malevolent jail adrenaline. But name-calling will provide a good run for the easily angered as well as the panicked name-caller (see #5.)

8. Participate in a sport and pretend like winning actually matters. Convince yourself, try hard, and it might be possible. If so, the whole team gets a shot, double if exhausted (see #5.) Third shot if in a stadium full of rabid fans in full adrenal froth.

9. Pedestrian auto dodging is less deadly with modern computer-assisted disc brakes. With practice, both you and school bus driver get adrenalicious as wheels lock up. The kids get a shot too, the highlight of their week, or longer if a tooth’s knocked out.

In short, induce humiliation, exhaustion, imminent death, or sudden loud scary noises. Learn your kids’ video games if you want to do it from the couch. A life without adrenaline would be too dull to survive. Ask any hunter/gatherer. And it’s free to all!

Redneck Dip-Dung Wood-Getting

Stump, before
Firewood, after
Mild adrenaline infusion from wrongful and slightly intoxicated woodworking. A juniper stump, abducted from public land, attacked by screaming electric saw. The rest beat apart with a splitting maul. (About a week’s home heat in that stump, after all.) Later, another dose, unsafely sharpening the worn out blade on a bench grinder. Yes!