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Beware the laundry gods

What the laundry room giveth, the laundry room taketh away.

I am a firm believer in the extended laundry cycle. It usually takes me two or three days. I drop my athletic clothes off before dinner, forget about them until dinner the next day and eventually move them to a dryer. Then, usually about five minutes before I need clean clothes, I retrieve them and bring them to my room.

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But it is a sad and accepted fact of nature that sacrifices must occasionally be made to the laundry gods. A mere toast or prayer will not suffice: The soap-sud deities demand some of the bounty they provide. Socks are a commonly accepted form of tribute. The occasional t-shirt, an undergarment are small prices for the benefits of divine providence.

But mortals become proud. We succumb to hubris. Like an architect on the Tower of Babel, I dared to challenge the gods. A meek offering, no questions asked when a sock appeared or disappeared, these are the talismans, the minor miracles of faith that sustain us in our wash cycles.

But I goaded them on. I was a false witness behind their enameled backs. Indeed, I boasted of my laundering skill, my penchant of leaving loads in there for days. The gods heard me, and they were miffed.

So, one day our witless protagonist (me) wandered into the laundry room again, smelling with bliss the reek of divine power and over-used fabric softener. Casually, he cast his eyes over the heaps of waylaid loads resting in wait for their owners on his right. The shining beacon, the marker of his humble garments was not visible: The neon orange Shorts of Reckoning were nowhere to be seen. Unalarmed, our Byronic hero strolled forth in an unhurried third person, gently tossing aside the loads of those less fortunate.

Alas, there were no shorts there. No grimy t-shirt of intramural excellence, no multi-colored socks of manifold pedal violence. Still, however, he would not believe.

Quickening his pace, he sidled back to his room, intent on finding the load lying by his door, unwashed and unforgiving. But the room was empty, the roommate was uninformative, the miracle of faith had not occurred. In a frenzy, our perturbed narrator rushed back to the temple, supplicating, begging for his ex-sweaty clothes. There was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. But the gods had hardened their hearts and turned away.

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As a gesture of brute power, they left him one token item — a soggy undergarment (best left undescribed) cast away under a table, as a general might leave one of his defeated enemies alive to tell the tale of conquest. Thus was I rebuked, struck down, negated, laundered and violated by the powers that be.

Beware the glory and dream, the intoxicating power of cycles without responsibility. This is the right of the gods, nectar not meant for mortals. You hear not the hum of mere mechanical idiocy but the rumbling hearts of thundering giants, the groaning of a table in Valhalla, laden down with socks and shirts. Go forth in peace, to love and serve the laundry room.

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