The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Iíve been putting off mopping my kitchen floor, although I do sweep it regularly. Still, it was looking scruffy and cried for attention. You can only avoid looking down for so long before it becomes obvious, even from your peripheral vision. †

Today was such a day, and after loading the dishwasher with dirty (but thoroughly rinsed) dishes, I found there was barely enough soap powder for the second-scrub automatic snap-open dispenser and not enough to fill the first wash cup.

†I didnít need any beer, so going to the market didnít have any immediate appeal, but being of an incurably inventive turn of mind, I looked around to improvise. The liquid dish soap on the counter was too much to resist, so I filled the first-wash-cup with liquid detergent, the word ďconcentrateĒ completely escaping my attention, so pleased was I with my own cleverness. I closed the door to the dishwasher, spun the dial and returned to my home office to continue with the chores of the day.

†About 7.6 minutes into the cycle, the chain of thought that brought me to this point led also to thinking about the beer in my icebox, and taking mental inventory, decided I was unsure of the bottle count, which naturally made me incidentally thirsty. I went back to the kitchen, intent on the efficient notion of taking inventory and decrementing the count by one, thus solving two problems at once.

††Rounding on the kitchen, Iím not sure which penetrated my consciousness first; the sight of suds bubbling from all four sides of the dishwasher door, or the four-inch deep phalanx of suds advancing like a time-lapsed glacier simulation on my refrigerator, threatening to cut me off from my beer supply. My mouth went sud-denly dry.

††I grabbed a sponge mop and bucket from the hall closet, and plunged in to subdue the suds. My first step into ankle-deep foam rendered a faint splashing sound which reminded me of beer splashing into a chilled glass in a tap room. I was distracted by the thought and the tickling sensation crawling up my ankles, or I would have thought to turn off the dishwasher immediately.

††Now hereís where it gets interesting. You canít shovel suds, you canít sweep them, and you canít mop them. A little known law of physics causes them to just move out of your way as you approach them with a mop. Whatís worse, the suds fill up the nooks and crannies on a sponge mop and prevent the sponge from absorbing water. At this point the futility of my efforts allowed the noise of the dishwasher to penetrate my awareness, and I turned it off and opened the door wide to see what was going on inside, my third mistake of the day.

††But the beer in the icebox was undamaged.

Gene Ziegler