Chores never end. That's why they're chores. You would think, after a long night scrubbing pots and pans until the skin begins to peel off your hands, that such an effort would absolve you from ever having to wash another dish again. YOU ARE WRONG. There will be more dishes to rinse or clean mere MINUTES later. When I think I'm finished washing dishes, my wife will often bus in MORE shit for me to wash, which never fails to break me spiritually. I am Sisyphus, only with sippy cups instead of a boulder. It's bullshit.
And chores get worse as you get older. There's a blissful moment between ages 18 and—oh I dunno—25, where chores are for suckers. If you go to some fancy dipshit college, you don't have to wash your dishes. You just bring your food tray to the magic conveyor belt and PRESTO! Your meal is over. And when you're fresh out of college, you eat takeout almost every night. You CRUSHKILL a carton of Singapore rice noodles and then throw that shit in the apartment trash heap. You still bring your piss-stained laundry to your poor mom once a month. You are still free to be the laziest, most worthless lump of shit in the world.
But then marriage and kids come and all that goes out the window. Leaving a dirty dish in the sink overnight becomes grounds for divorce. The chores keep piling up until life is just one bullshit task after another: dishes, composing thank-you notes, pulling dead rats out of the drain, etc. It goes on and on and on, and it made reader Pierzy ask the following question:
Is cleaning the bathroom the worst (regular) household chore?
My friend, it's up there. If you have a bad back like me, getting down on a hard tile floor to scrub old piss out from behind the toilet is excruciating. There shouldn't even be an empty area behind the toilet. Nothing good can come from such a place. But is it the worst chore?
It's time we ranked all household chores in order, so that we can know for certain. Starting with the worst:
1. Vacuuming*. Vacuuming is awful, especially if you hate your vacuum as much as I do. Lugging a fucking vacuum around everywhere is awful. And, as a bonus, the vacuum never reaches every spot in your home without requiring a re-plug job. And God forbid the vacuum have ONE PART that can vacuum every surface: rugs, hardwood floors, Field Turf, etc. No no, you have to switch out parts and then switch them back after you realize you forgot to clean up the Honey Nut Cheerio that the 3-year-old ground into the carpet. The best part of vacuuming is that no vacuum can operate at anything less than "Space Shuttle Taking Off On Your Face" decibel levels. Just switch it on and you can drown out any nearby air raid siren. Goddamn vacuums.
(*NOTE: I do not count dustbusting as vacuuming. Dustbusting kicks ass. Lint balls are no match for my alien gamma death ray gun.)
2. Cleaning the bathroom. Every time I take my son to use the pisser, I have to remind him to make sure his pee hits the water. Because if I don't, he looks all around and lets his piss go wherever the wind may take it. OH HEY LOOK! A BIRD! NOW I'M PISSING ON THE TOILET BRUSH. My home is COATED in urine. It's like primer on the walls. Cleaning it off the bathroom floor is brutal, as is discovering any number of "surprises" around the toilet: pubes, bit of turd, dead insects, and such and such.
3. Pulling weeds. I will never understand people who enjoy gardening. Maybe you get a kick out of WORKING THE LAND, having your hands deep in the soil and communing with Mother Nature and experiencing the joy of watching things grow. That's all well and good if you happen to be a hobbit. I personally find spending more than five minutes hunched over a driveway crack in 90-degree heat and trying to pull out a weed whose roots extend down into the Earth's iron core to be fucking AGONY.
4. Dishes. One day, I would like to know the total number of dishes I have washed in my lifetime. It must be in the tens of thousands, and that's not even counting the dishwashing gig I had at Little Caesars when I was in school. I've had to wash every kind of nightmare dish: cookie sheets with burnt cheese, Pyrex dishes with spattered chicken fat, colanders coated in potato paste that NEVER comes off, pasta bowls encrusted with days-old tomato sauce, baby bottles separated into 17 different tiny parts (some of which require a special brush to clean), butter dishes, graters, big serving plates that don't fit in the goddamn sink ... all of it sucks. I drink seltzer right from the bottle and eat beef stew with my hands specifically so that I won't have to deal with any cups or dishes.
The only good thing about doing dishes is that it absolves you from kid duty, which says a lot about how difficult kid duty can be. But all that work—the rinsing and scraping and GODDAMMIT THIS SHIT WILL NEVER COME OFF—eats away at your soul, until you feel nothing at all. When I wash dishes now, I'm half dead.
5. Laundry. Sorting shit and throwing it into a washing machine isn't the worst thing in the world. I also ignore detergent measurements because I like to live dangerously. I GO BY FEEL. Sure, the fact that every dryer door rests three inches off the ground and forces you to contort your spine into a question mark just to get at the last sock isn't fun, but there are worse things, such as FOLDING that laundry. Especially kiddie laundry. I have three kids, which means all their tiny dollhouse clothing gets mixed together and I have to spend eight years figuring out whose garment is whose and how the fuck you're supposed to fold a onesie. Folding my own laundry is a breeze by comparison. I have one pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. BOOM. Done. Easy. Meanwhile, Little Junior smeared cake on 60 different t-shirts today. Enjoy folding them for the next eight years.
6. Picking up everyone's crap. In a perfect world, kids would pick up their own crap. It's not like there's any question whose crap it is. They leave a trail of Legos and old Goldfish behind them. But any experienced parent knows that it usually takes more effort to get the kids to pick up their shit than it does to just get down and do it yourself. My kids are pretty good at picking up after themselves these days. But once in a while they'll just tear a playroom to bits and leave me to clean up the wreck. I've seen hurricane cleanups that are less daunting. Why is this plastic baby's head stuck in the ceiling fan? What is this wet spot?
7. Emptying the dishwasher. This is the first thing I have to do every morning. Every morning, I make a bowl of cereal, then I go to get a spoon, realize there are no spoons in the drawer, and realize that the dishwasher needs emptying. It's one of those handy reminders that your day will suck. I pull open the racks, and half the glasses are still wet. Teacups have water pooled in their bottoms. A container has turned over during the wash and filled with hot dishwater. And some goddamn spatula has lodged itself in the rack and requires King Arthur to extract. This is every goddamn morning. I know dishwashers are a modern miracle, but fuck emptying them. It's awful.
8. Taking out the trash. Move this up a few spots if the trash includes a diaper pail, which is like a jailbreak by a day's worth of farts. The smell when you open up the little plastic door is overwhelming. You can feel your body being poisoned. Taking out the trash, otherwise, ought to be simple affair. Yet I find it unbearable. Taking out the trash also means taking out the recyclables, and some goddamn yogurt cup will always tumble out of the bin while I'm dumping everything out. Taking out the trash also means pulling the garbage bag out of the trash can (and the garbage bag always resists because it's been overstuffed with old chicken bones) and then replacing the bag, which I always forget to do. This results in me inevitably throwing a bag of spoiled deli ham into an unlined trash can. SHIT SHIT SHIT.
And the trash is ALWAYS full. I could have a 5,000-gallon trash receptacle and it would be full of carrot shavings and boogery tissues five seconds after emptying it. Children are like factories of mass waste. They're the reason we're all gonna die from rising sea levels. They are not our future. They are our demise.
9. Packing lunches. It's 7 a.m., and I haven't eaten breakfast yet. I don't even know what the hell I'm putting in this school lunch bag. Maybe an apple. Maybe a pack of Lipton onion-soup mix. I have no idea. You can't expect me to put together a rational bagged meal that early in the morning. Half the time, my wife checks out my handiwork and replaces the lunch with an entirely different lunch. Why do I even bother, woman? IS A MEAL THAT CONSISTS ENTIRELY OF PRETZEL RODS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU?!
We used to write notes for my kid at the beginning of the year and tuck them into her lunch. Stuff like, "You're awesome!" and all that. But the novelty wears off after a while. Now I just hand the girl the bag like I'm sending her off to a North Korean labor camp.
10. Making beds. That last corner of the fitted sheet. WHY WON'T IT SLIP ON EASY?! Move making beds up a notch on this list if you factor in bunk beds. Making the top bunk of a bunk bed is like trying to build a shoe factory in midair. This is why no college student ever cleans his sheets.
11. Snow shoveling. Varies by region. Soon enough, none of us will have to shovel snow because it'll never snow. And we owe it all to harmless carbon dioxide!
12. Cooking. Cooking isn't always fun. Chopping vegetables is shitty and horrible. But obviously, it beats cleaning. And you can drink and sample the food and pretend you're cooking on Chopped while you do it. And your mystery basket ingredients are BONELESS CHICKEN BREAST, JARRED TOMATO SAUCE, AND CHEESE. Thirty minutes on the clock ... TIME STARTS NOW! I made prime rib for my family this Christmas and, God, I was so proud of it. So pink and juicy. I was this close to being every jackass who takes pictures of his food, but I resisted. Just kidding. I totally took a picture of that shit. Sometimes, when I'm stuck in traffic, I take it out and look at it. Oh, prime rib. You and I had great times together. I'll never forget you. Only you and I will ever know that your secret ingredient was ORANGE ZEST.
13. Setting the table. Easiest job ever. Want to look as if you contributed to the family while barely lifting a finger? Offer to set the table. Way to go, you! You placed napkins and forks down in a circle. You get a free coloring mat.
14. Washing the car. PEW PEW PEW! Dirt has nothing on my garden hose, which is actually an imaginary flame thrower. BLAZZZZZZEEEEEE ...
Put your best and worst in the discussion below.