Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quickie: When is a Scrap of Paper Not a Scrap of Paper?

A riddle for you married folks: When is a scrap of paper not a scrap of paper?

Time’s up.

The answer: When it is a test.

Ah, now you may ask: When is a scrap of paper a test?

The answer: When said scrap of paper has been lying on the bathroom floor for five days in silent protest.

Really? You still have questions? Ah, dammit. I’ll just spell it out for you, and I’m sure you’ll catch on soon.

The scene: Wife is sick and tired of being the one always cleaning up the same crap day after day. (Why does someone always spill juice within an hour of mopping the floor any way?) One morning, Wife is greeting by the now infamous scrap of a paper on the bathroom floor. A receipt from CVS, if you must know. Wife sighs with the knowledge that this is but a long line of scraps that will be picked up only to be replaced by another long line of scraps, wet towels, and a supply of socks that never seems to end. Wife wonders how long the scrap would sit on the floor if she didn’t pick it up. Wife forces herself to ignore the Scrap from Hell, hotfooting it out of the bathroom.

Minutes then hours then days go by. At each visit to the bathroom, Wife is greeted by the Scrap from Hell. Sometimes it waves gaily. Sometimes it sticks out its tongue and says, “Neener neener neeeee-ner.” Sometimes is flips her the bird. But always, it remains untouched, ignored, invisible to the rest of the household.

Finally on Day Five, Wife concedes defeat. In one graceful though heavy-hearted swoop, the scrap is deposited in the recycling bin, a mere three feet away.

How many Scraps from Hell would party down all night long in a Husband-run household? Is Wife an overly tidy shrew? Is Husband a thoughtless slob? Are Children spoiled ingrates?

Stay tuned for the next installment of Matrimonial Jeopardy.


  1. Perhaps none of the above.
    Consider that the wife prefers things picked up and neat, the hubby doesn't really care and neither do the children. In fact if you look into the children's rooms you will find that they are probably pretty comfy with scraps of paper in their corners. There might not be one morally correct answer for how the house should be kept. (It just feels that way to the wife :)
    The tricky part is how to meet everyone's needs. Since the wife needs it tidy and the others don't, how can they all compromise? For instance why is it that the wife's standards with no paper on the floor rule? Or for that matter why should the standard of never picking things up rule either?
    Of course if this were a vote the wife would likely lose said vote, so she might want to stick with consensus, which of course means compromise..................

    Bet'cha know who wrote this comment :)

  2. It took me a while to figure out who wrote this comment. On one hand, it seems like a viewpoint my husband would take. But it is definitely not his writing style. In fact, the more I look at it, the more it reeks of hippie, commune-loving perspective. And pachouli. And then there was the lightning-fast response time.

    Hello Nisha!

  3. I'm the husband, and I am invariably the one to pick up the scraps of paper, piles of outdated magazines and other Things That Don't Belong There. Just so you know. Love my wife, she's the greatest thing ever...but I am the one with the more developed Neatnik gene, by far.

    Just so ya know.

  4. I think y'all should do sort of an all-Family version of Nabokov's "Pale Fire", done completely through the Comments section. I'd come back religiously to read the daily updates!

  5. That's funny, Tony. My husband DOES read my blog (God love 'em), but he is a man of few words.

    On the other hand, that other husband who commented - the one who can recognize an outdated magazine - I want to get to know *him* better. ;-)