Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Earlier today, as I finished ironing the last of several shirts, it occurred to me that I like ironing more than anyone who knows my slovenly habits would suspect. I mean, I am reluctant to throw my clothes into the washer, a remarkable device that does ninety-five percent of the work for me. You would think ironing would be a foreign concept to me, or even something of a curse word. Instead, though, it brings me a great deal of satisfaction.

For me, the trouble with washing clothes isn't the washing or drying: it's the folding and putting away afterwards. It's tedious and unrewarding work to my way of thinking, even though without this work all the washing would be wasted effort.

Ironing, though even more work than folding, is immensely rewarding. You start with a shirt that might as well have been lying in a crumpled heap in an alley, wrinkled seemingly beyond repair. You run a marvelously simple device over it. Suddenly, those ineradicable wrinkles are gone. You even have a split-screen effect: in front of your iron is crumpled fabric, behind it is a smooth, flat expanse. It's kind of magical. The humble iron is a kind of wand.

Running a hot iron over an article of clothing brings order to chaos. Ironing, like life itself, fights entropy. To my mind, that's a cause for quiet celebration.

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