In Defense of Dishwashing

a radio commentary broadcast on Jefferson Public Radio's The Jefferson Daily
Tuesday, July 22, 1997
(c)1997 by Fred Flaxman

HOST: The only culinary art commentator Fred Flaxman ever mastered is… dishwashing. And he has a few things to say in defense of this little-appreciated art... or is it a science? Well, this little-appreciated, but necessary task.

FLAXMAN: Dishwashing may not be as much fun as sex, as much exercise as jogging or as relaxing as a whirlpool bath, but it does have its advantages:

Like sex, dishwashing is most enjoyable when it's not performed routinely three times a day, and is both dirty and clean, depending on how you look at it.

Like jogging, it keeps you on your feet and facilitates creative daydreaming. But unlike running, you can do it comfortably no matter what the weather is like outside. And there is much less chance of keeling over with a heart attack. In fact, dishwashing never killed anyone, even though most people avoid it like the plague.

Like whirlpool baths, dishwashing permits you to play with hot water and soapy suds. And there is no law against doing it in the nude, although I'll admit it's not common practice, and I wouldn't tell my neighbors, if I were you.

Dishwashing helps instill the democratic values of our society. It promotes the equality of men and women. And it is particularly effective at taking high-ranking, overly-paid, over-bearing, over-confident corporate executives and reducing them to humble household hired hands and bumbling, glass-breaking blockheads.

Dishwashing - like reading, writing, speaking and composing great music - separates human beings from the lower forms of life. There is some question as to whether certain animals speak, but none have ever been found who wash dishes.

For those who spend their days doing mental work in offices, dishwashing supplies a righteously routine, thoughtless activity that gives the brain a badly-needed after-dinner rest. It's Western Civilization's equivalent of contemplating your navel or repeating your mantra.

Even after all these years of women in the work force, most wives who bring home the bacon still cook it. Dishwashing is easier than cooking, and yet many wives who do all the meal preparation will accept after-dinner clean-up by their husbands as "doing their share" of the household chores.

With as many pluses as dishwashing has, I wonder why it usually receives such a bad press, or no press at all. Well, I've been wondering long enough. I'd better stop talking to you and go wash the dishes.

This is Fred Flaxman.

HOST: Commentator Fred Flaxman writes a column called "Compact Discoveries" for the Jefferson Monthly, Jefferson Public Radio's membership magazine. He is also a regular columnist for the Ashland Lithiagraph.