This morning I woke up to the news that Osama Bin Laden had finally been found and killed. I couldn’t suppress a small, internal “Ooh Rah,” even as I thought, “Uh oh, now what?” That’s a lot to worry about first thing on a Monday morning so instead I decided to confront a simpler question: Should I swap out the kitchen sponge?
I realize that to the casual observer that sounds like the mother of all non-sequiturs, but you’ll have to trust me on this one, there was a long, organic thought process that led me from Bin Laden to sponges. The tail end of that process equated hiding in caves in Pakistan and Afghanistan to the holes in sponges in which bacteria breed. Sound a little less nutty?
For years we kept two sponges in the kitchen, one on either side of the sink. One was for washing dishes, and one was for cleaning counters and the kitchen table, etc. Helpful, albeit oblivious, guests would often pick up the dish sponge to wipe up a spill, or use the counter sponge to wash dishes. The enlightened ones would ask before they used either one.
Right now I’m hard pressed to remember why we thought it necessary to keep two sponges in play, though I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about someone using the wrong one so we must have had a good reason. Nor do I remember when or why we decided the hell with it, and dialed down to one.
Another thing I can’t remember is how long my mother kept a sponge in use at the home I grew up in. But my mom is quite the packrat and my dad fixes his cars with duct tape, so I’m guessing sponges had a good long life in their house. As I peer over the far edge of middle-age, I’ve finally discovered something that should have been evident to me long ago: sponges are cheap. If I wanted, I could use three sponges in the kitchen, hell I could use a different sponge for every day of the week! But because it’s not good to add more to the waste stream than we need to, this house continues to use sponges until they are tattered.
Sponges come from the ocean; once upon a time, they were alive. Osama Bin Laden has just been consigned to the ocean, where he will feed fish, build up the ocean floor, and do other good deeds for the environment. Years from now, we could be washing dishes with help from Bin Laden. That’s a far cry from cavorting in heaven with a bunch of virgins. Since washing dishes is my idea of hell, maybe this is a fitting end after all.