A fitting end

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.


9 responses to “A fitting end

  1. “Swimming with the fishes” has it’s own literary trail, i.e. “The Godfather” movies.

  2. This is the most clever post you have written, I think. I love how your mind works!

  3. Real sponges don’t get quite as degenerate as those phony thingies in the supermarket. Enough, now, on sponges; I’ve said all I know about sponges. Bin Laden is another story – my reaction on hearing the too much news about his demise surprised me.
    I experienced serious economic damage, as well as emotional pain, on and after 9/11/2001. I suppose that I might have rejoiced a bit more than some of those partying in Times Square et al. But, I didn’t.
    My father worked his entire life within easy walking distance, almost shouting distance, of the Twin Towers location. He used to take me and my younger sister for walks and sightseeing in Battery Park. I worked in the area for a couple of summers and in the Village (there really is only the West Village for me) – at St. Vincent’s hospital.
    Half of my father’s family was in the fire department.
    I lost so much on that one day it altered my life in an irrevocable and sad way. Too bad for me.
    And, all I could think on hearing of Bin Laden’s death was UhOh – we’re going to need more than sponges to clean up this mess. The big organic kind.
    Too bad; so sad. Maybe we should get GWBush to give us another staging of his “Mission Accomplished” stage show. How sad. Too bad.
    Over and out.

  4. I love how your mind works too.

    As far as sponges go, I get grossed out by them sitting around too long as well. I run them through the dishwasher every few days. I also hear microwaving them wet kills bacteria. Once they don’t look appetizing, I dump them. (Just like a certain terrorist was dumped in the sea.)

  5. I also use two sponges. I also have the issue of guests using the wrong sponge for the wrong usage. (How can they not know??)

    Maybe for bin Laden, this is a fitting end. It’s hard to know. He did not suffer enough.

  6. I know it’s time to throw a sponge out when I walk away from the sink after washing dinner dishes, sit down to do something else, and realize that my hands smell like dirty dish water. So pleasant!

  7. Yes…I think this was one of my favorite posts, too. Why? Just a whimsical, delightful mental meandering, yet also acknowledging the event that we (collectively) — at first — if totally honest — felt a big “YES” for a DEATH that, each for our own reasons, was initially a cause for rejoicing. But also you allowed the collective “we” to peak down that rat hole, just for a second, and quickly turn our minds to something less…ummm….complex? grounded? i.e. “sponges…are two too many, but why not 7? If I was living in a cave in Afghanistan…” but then, in the end, he wasn’t! Nor are we. Anyhow….the overall impact was just loveable.

    • While I am not rejoicing’, as Liz potsed earlier, God’s Word is filled with references to His wiping out enemies which even included women and children. While I don’t necessarily understand that, I do know God is sovereign and why should I feel uncomfortable with the death even an unarmed death- of a man who did not care about killing unarmed women and children? Did he care when he planned 911? Mr. Balyo, please remember this when you say on air that you have a problem with Bin Laden’s being unarmed. Christians and Americans were his target. We should make sure we feeling as sorry for our people here at home who are suffering and doing what we can to take care of them.

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