At what point do clothes become dirty laundry and must be washed before next use? I say I undies and socks are dirty immediately after they touch your body. Shirts are dirty as soon as you wear them outside OR sleep in them. Pants never get dirty unless something spills on them. Towels are only dirty if they smell like shit.


Socks and undies are dirty laundry as soon as you take them off, even if you’ve only worn them for 10 minutes, and they’re dirty laundry after 18 hours even if you’re still wearing them. T-shirts are basically the same: If I put a T-shirt on but then change my mind and decide to wear a different shirt, I feel weird about putting the first shirt back in the drawer. I will feel like it’s festering in there, besmirched, the Bad Shirt, spreading unfreshness to the other shirts. Corrupting them!

Button-down shirts of the sort that go on hangers are dirty if you’ve worn them for a length of time equivalent to a full day’s work shift with a reasonable commute on either end of it, whether you actually did that or not. If you wear a shirt for that length of time and then take it off, it’s dirty now. You may make an exception if you wore an undershirt and if you didn’t do anything that made you sweat while wearing the shirt. Also, this doesn’t really apply to heavy flannel shirts, which are dirty only if they smell bad or have visible filth on them. And linen shirts are dirty only when they’re visibly discolored or bad smelling, because washing them sucks and ironing them sucks even worse.


Polo-type shirts, I dunno, whatever, I don’t like polo-type shirts and don’t own any.

Suit pants are dirty when they have something spilled on them or when the crease is so apocalyptically motherfucked that you might as well take them to the dry cleaners. Regular khaki trousers or whatever are dirty when they look dirty or smell bad. Jeans are never dirty unless you spill something on them or they smell like dumpster juice.


Bath towels should basically never be real-deal dirty, if you’re using them properly and hanging them properly to dry afterward. If they smell like shit, the problem is that you don’t know how to wash yourself. (You should still launder them from time to time, just so you can say you do.)


At what point does “Swoosh! Michael Jordan wins the game!” become “Swoosh! LeBron James wins the game!” And how pissed is Kobe that he got passed over?


I think it already has, in the sense that most of the people doing the “Swoosh! [Basketball Hero X] wins the game!” thing, at basketball courts or trash cans or anywhere else, are probably kids, and kids mostly don’t give a rat’s ass about Michael Jordan. At very best, they feel about Michael Jordan the way I felt about, say, Wes Unseld: Sort of vaguely impressed, willing to accept that he was A Cool Old Basketball Dinosaur Of Yore, but not personally moved by him in the slightest, because he belonged to The Olds and could never really represent me kicking the asses I wanted to kick. More probably they’re sick of old sacks of shit like me waxing rhapsodic about the greatness of Michael Jordan and suspect he was probably a garbage player by modern standards, who dribbled by bending over at the waist and slapping at the ball with his butt stuck out like an idiot. You know, the way I regard Bob Cousy.

What I wonder is at what age you settle on who your permanent “Swish! [Basketball Hero X] wins the game!” avatar will be. Like I still can’t really help but think of Michael Jordan when I am tossing a paper ball into the trash from across the room, even though on the whole I’ve almost certainly watched a lot more of LeBron than I ever did of Michael, and have come to think LeBron is at least as good, and like him more. Michael’s still my “Swish! [Basketball Hero X] wins the game!” guy.


Ah, the human heart, she is a deep and mysterious ocean of secrets.


My fiancee has one friend who I never want to hang out with. She’s not an objectively bad person, but I find her to be incredibly aggravating and I never want to be in the same room as her. I’m quite fine with my fiancee being friends with her. I just don’t want to also be friends with her. I would much rather be excluded from their social interactions.

This isn’t usually a problem. But every once in a while, this friend wants significant others to join. I’ve told my fiancee how I feel and she almost never makes me attend. But I still need to find some excuse, and there have been occasions when I manufactured conflicts to get out of it.

How do I manage this? At this point, it’s kind of apparent I avoid these outings anyway, but the invites keep coming. Sometimes, my absence puts pressure on my fiancee. I just want to tell this friend “stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen! It’s not going to happen!”


A dumb and obvious and unhelpful Dad Truism I repeat at my kids very often is, “Most of life is spent doing one thing when you’d rather be doing something else. It’s fine, or anyway it’s a good thing to get comfortable with, because that’s how it’s gonna be even if you don’t.” (Usually I follow it with “So let’s skip past the whining and just frickin’ eat your dinner, okay?”)

You’d rather go to a ballgame than to a weekly status meeting. You’d rather get laid than get your taxes done. At any given moment the thing you’re doing almost certainly is not the one thing you’d choose to do over all others. In fact, I’d say that you’re extraordinarily lucky if even 25 times in your whole entire lifetime the thing you’re doing at one moment is the exact thing you’d enjoy most out of all possibilities, the exact way you’d most like to be doing it. In your whole damn lifetime!


You love your fiancée. That’s why you’re getting married. Will you go to chemotherapy sessions with your fiancée when that’s not what you want to be doing? Will you run down to the store to pick up some friggin’ tampons and pads, because of the two of you you’re the one who can do that without leaving a trail of blood along the way, even though you can imagine many things that would be a lot more pleasurable to do with that time? Will you not only endure but be an active and constructive participant in difficult, frighteningly vulnerable and personal discussions about your relationship and your feeeeeeelings in the inevitable rough patches, even though given the choice you’d rather do literally any other thing, you’d literally rather stab yourself between the knuckles with a butter knife, you’d rather let a dog chew on your nuts?

Getting married is saying “Yes” to these questions. That’s what marriage is: A standing and committed “Yes” to those questions. If your answer to those questions is “Yes,” then you should go ahead and get used to spending time around this annoying friend, for the sake of not making your fiancée feel like she has to keep two parts of her life separate from each other for no reason stronger than your sorta vague distaste for an annoying person she loves. I promise you, very sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, that if this act of shit-eating turns out even to make the list of the hundred worst sacrifices you have to make in your life together, you will have been almost inconceivably lucky.


(Or, hell, go ahead and hold out for a partner who doesn’t have any annoying friends or relatives or ex-boyfriends or habits or hobbies or speech patterns or favorite TV shows, or who is totally and permanently okay with you just straight-up parachuting out of the parts of her life you’re not super into. The world needs celibate loners, too!)


What’s the best way to clean my raingutters?

Oh GOD. If you can’t hire someone to do it for you, the best way to do it is to back your lawnmower over your own face.


I suppose “very carefully” isn’t a good enough answer, huh? What I did when I lived in a house where this was possible was, I got a tall ladder and carried a trash bag up there with me, and just scooped the leaves and twigs and seed pods and shit out of there by hand and shoved them into the trash bag. Cursing a blue damn streak the whole time! Then I dragged the hose up there and ran water through the gutter to get it relatively clean-looking and to flush out the downspouts. Or, I should say, first I let the gutters get so stuffed with debris that they were bending and coming off the side of the house and when it rained the front of my house looked like Niagara Falls, then I paid through the nose to have the gutters professionally cleaned and repaired, then I did the above method after that. It sucked. It sucks. I’m sorry.

Now I live in a place where the gutters on one side of the house are low enough to get to with a regular nine-foot stepladder... and the gutters on the other side are like 30 damn feet off the ground, thanks to the ridiculous slope of the hill under my house. There’s just no way I can even get to the gutters on the downhill side of the house with a ladder. The only option is to climb on the roof on the uphill side, walk my clumsy ass across the roof, up to the edge of the terrifying precipice, and then, like, kneel down and clean the gutters.


I will die if I do this. Therefore I have bit the bullet and hired people to come clean the gutters. It costs way too much, but the alternative is death!

I don’t have any good advice, here. I just wanted to complain about my home some more.


Email of the week!


I noticed at my parents house that the main towel rod for the guest towels is located right next to the toilet. If you’re like me an acutely aware of all the pee and poo splashback that can occur at any given point with a standard toilet, I was immediately grossed out and hung my towel over the side of the shower instead. Now I understand in some small apartments and small bathrooms you gotta work with what you have, but their bathroom design is just downright flawed.

You gotta take the toilet water splash into account for the bathroom towel rod placement when space allows, right?


I mean, yes, that is a less-than-ideal place for a towel rod. But also, I am very baffled by what you seem to be implying about your pooping techniques. How are you accomplishing “poo splashback” that could reach the towel? Shouldn’t, y’know, your ass be in the way? Are you like standing across the room and blasting loaves into the toilet like a goddamn bazooka? Actually it’s better not to know. Take this secret to your grave, Eric!