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clorox

Here’s the happy news from Clorox:  There will always be laundry. No matter how far we have come as a civilization. No matter how fancy and colorful our washing machines are. No matter how much money we make, where we live or who we live with.  Clorox is trying to make us feel that the circle of life includes laundry, we should feel connected to our great-great grandmothers — and to Clorox of course — by doing laundry,   but it’s really just depressing. If you are a woman, no matter how far you come in this man’s world, you’re going to have to do at least a few loads of laundry. And you’ll be bleaching your yukky little gym socks with Clorox. As a co-worker of mine from West Virginia used to say, “Accept it, bless it and move on.

Except, no.  My aunt had a cleaning lady named Evelyn who did the laundry. To this day, I’m not sure my aunt even knows how a washing machine works. My first boss, the coolest, hippest TV producer that ever lived, used to drop her laundry off at the laundromat and they’d do it for her.  My best friend would not even consider dating anyone who didn’t do laundry and her adorable husband washes his own smelly gym socks.  Women of the world, if you don’t want to do laundry, you don’t have to.

But aside from this depressing (and maybe a little sexist) vision of  middle-class laundry and the woman who sort it and fold it, is a much bigger question: Does anybody really bleach anything anymore? Tye-dyeing tee shirts does not count. My mother used to bleach things when I was little, in the sink in our laundry room, but she doesn’t do it any more. I don’t think I own a bottle of bleach.  I don’t think I’ve ever needed one.  The dirt and stains in my clothes come out just fine with the lemon-scented detergent that I bought on sale.  A quick visit to the Clorox web site reveals that Clorox and bleach in general can be very useful to kill bacteria but is also pretty toxic. Also there are a lot urban legends surrounding the uses of Clorox bleach that are funny at best, and a little  freaky at worst.

So what we are left with at the end of this walk through the history of modern American laundry methods is the idea that laundry has been and always will be a burden and Clorox is a quaint, arcane and vaguely dangerous product that hasn’t changed a bit in the last 100 years.

Watch it now, if you haven’t seen it yet.  I’m going to pass. On the idea of laundry as destiny and bleach as a necessity. Sorry, Clorox, accept it, bless it and move on.

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