College
by Walt on October 23, 2012

I realized this my freshman year of college, when I started doing my own laundry for the first time. Not only did I have to ask two separate hardbodied coeds what the difference between a washer and a dryer was and which one I should use first – two because A) you can never trust just one and B) there’s more than one night in a weekend – I learned some other valuable lessons as well.

For instance, no one ever taught me to take my socks off right-side-out so I wouldn’t have to spend the first twenty minutes in the laundry room inverting them every time. Or that my entire wardrobe of white clothes would turn pink if I threw a brand new red beach towel in the mix with them. Or that all my t-shirts would shrink after two full laundry cycles. OK, so maybe that last one was excessive-lifting and/or beer related. OK, mostly beer related.

Either way, six years later and you know what I’ve learned: not a damn thing. I still turn all my clothes inside-out when I undress, I still manage to shrink half the shirts I buy the first time I launder them, and I’ve now got more pink socks than a gay porn set short on lube.

What befuddles me is that my sister is a pro at laundry. She turns into Mr. Miyagi or one of those freakish twelve-year-old cup-stackers when you put a basket of clothes in front of her. And I know she picked it up from my mom.

Which begs the question: why, Dear Mother, did you teach my sister all these secret life-skills but not me? Did you think I was gonna get wifed up two weeks out of college and circumvent learning them altogether? Or was I just too busy dominating the CPU on All-Madden (pre-XBox-Live days, kiddos) to hear a word you said when you said, “Am I the only one who does any fucking laundry around here?!” I don’t quote remember.

Regardless, way to drop the ball on educating me in the ways of domesticity. I don’t want to be desperate for a live-in girlfriend — you made me this way. There are so many things you could have taught me but never did.

Here are 10 of them:

1. Folding Fitted Sheets

I used to solve 2500 piece jigsaw puzzles in an afternoon, no sweat. I used to do my calculus homework during urinal breaks. I once built a suspension bridge that could support the weight of 14 Hot Wheels out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands. But for the life of me, I do not know any way to fold a fitted sheet other than to wad it up in a ball and throw it in the corner of my closet. Which can get confusing when I’m trying to decide which wad of sheets is the clean one. Sometimes I wish I had a blacklight.

2. Removing Empty Boxes from the Pantry/Fridge

There is no feeling in the entire world more disappointing than jamming your hand into the box for the last package of Dunkaroos and coming out empty. Why my roommates are so sick in the head as to enact this ruse on me on a weekly basis is beyond comprehension. Oh, wait, I live alone. And there are Dunkaroo crumbs all over the shirt I haven’t changed in three days.

3. Washing Glasses

Why is it that no matter how frequently I wash the dishes – two, three times a day even – there always seem to be between four and ten glasses in the sink? Oh, I remember: it’s because washing them by hand sucks ass. As in, my stubby-fingered bear-paws can’t reach the bottom. Looks I need one of two things: cups with a greater diameter or a woman around with dexterous, dainty, dishwashing hands.

4. Changing the Shower Curtain

Occasionally, I look at something other than the weird red bumps on my shaft while I shower. On these occasions, I usually notice that there are colonies of some type of fungus growing inside of my shower curtain. How did that get there? And do I care enough to do anything about? And what, if any, is the relationship between that fungus and the red bumps on my shaft?

5. Waking Me Up

Once upon a time, there was literally no sound in the entire world worse than the sound of my mother’s whiny voice on the other side of my bedroom door in the morning, threatening to deprive me of my breakfast or “take me to school naked” if I failed to wake up in the next ten minutes. And because it was so incessant and uncompromising, it always worked; I woke up.

Left to my own devices, I suck at waking up. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t burst into work hacking up a lung, drenched in sweat and cursing public transportation’s incompetence.

You know what the difference between your mother and the snooze button is? You can punch the snooze eight or nine times every morning without feeling bad about it afterward.

6. Filling the Water Purifier Back Up

It takes approximately five seconds to replace the water I remove from the fancy purifier every time I fill a glass from it. Apparently those are five seconds I don’t have, because when I wake up in the middle of the night seething with a hangover or in a state of mortal terror because the girl in the other room whose pie I was just kissing is on her monthlies, that pitcher is invariably empty.

7. Drinking in Moderation

Mom’s so cute when she drinks. She gets tipsy off two-and-a-half margaritas, giggles for a while and then goes to bed before the sun is down. If I could drink like her, I could, like, occasionally do the dizzle on my girlfriend instead of passing out after hopelessly trying to push rope in through the back door for half-an-hour. Or pee in the toilet instead of my bed. The possibilities are endless.

8. Replacing All the House Supplies

Shame on my mother: she definitely led me to believe that things like hand-soap and laundry detergent and salt and pepper shakers simply refilled themselves. How else can one explain how one minute they would be completely empty and if I just waited long enough they would magically be filled up to the brim again? That such things require human intervention to be replaced became evident to me the time that I finished shitting only to realize that my roommate and I were out of toilet paper. Unluckily for him I had white towels — his were navy blue.

9. Going to the Grocery Store in a Timely and Efficient Matter

I guess this really starts with making a list before you go, but I can barely write my own name when I’m as high as I get before going grocery shopping, much less try to determine what combination of snacks I want before they’re even on display in front of me. Somehow chocolate syrup and hot sauce always make the cut. Because one of those two things can make any and everything taste better.

10. Eating Right

So I remember learning the food pyramid and all that good stuff in kindergarten. I know that, in theory, fruits and veggies should comprise more than half of my daily caloric intake. And yet I have not eaten a salad of my own volition since the day I left your house some number of years ago. Why didn’t you teach me all the delicious ways you used to prepare vegetables? I certainly can’t eat this shit raw. It tastes like plants.

I mean, sometimes I get the slice of pizza that has spinach on it, or mix my tequila with orange juice instead of drinking it straight from the bottle. But for the most part, I just shovel takeout into my mouth and crush beers all day long.

The thing about raw carrots is that they’re not cheeseburgers, and that has always been a bit of a dealbreaker for me.