I would like to introduce a new mathematical symbol for infinity. Instead of ∞, I propose a picture of a pile of laundry.
Laundry never ends. Ever. As long as filthy humans roam the earth and procreate to make exponentially filthier offspring, laundry will continue to accumulate in the corners of bedrooms, under beds and, for reasons still unclear to me, in the middle of my dining room.
Laundry is a scourge rivaled only by its close relative, dirty dishes. In truth, though, dirty dishes aren’t nearly as bad. I mean, sure, they are messier, but ultimately they are less intensive to manage. You see, what bugs me about laundry, in addition to its infinite nature, is the insane number of times one must touch each individual piece of clothing throughout the cleaning process.
- Off the body and into the hamper.
- Out of the hamper and into the washer.
- Out of the washer and into the dryer.
- Out of the dryer and into the laundry basket.
- Out of the laundry basket and onto the bed for folding.
- Folded and piled on the bed.
- From the bed back into the laundry basket.
- Out of the laundry basket and into the drawer.
People, are we out of our freaking minds? Does this make any sense?
I went to business school, and one of the required courses included a unit on what is called “throughput analysis.” Throughput is basically the rate at which a system achieves its goals. If you are manufacturing something, the throughput could be measured as the amount of time it takes for the raw material to turn into the desired end product or how many individual steps are involved in the process.
Throughput can measure other things as well, like how long it takes someone at a restaurant to order food (longer if you’re my wife), get the food, eat the food, pay for the food and leave the table. (If you’re a high-maintenance Jewish mother you also have to factor in the sending-the-food-back-because-it’s-not-the-right-temperature step in the process. And if you are me, it includes a visit to the restroom. Sometimes two. But I digress…)
What I’m getting at here is that the throughput for laundry sucks. To clean one lousy pair of my ill-fitting boxer briefs (I simply cannot find a brand I like and it’s…wait for it…driving me nuts), they must be touched eight times! EIGHT times! Now there was a time in my life when the thought of someone touching my boxer briefs eight times would have really got me excited, but I’m well past that stage. I just want clean underwear.
We need a laundry revolution!
I simply cannot rest knowing that we’re living in an age when cars can now parallel park themselves but underwear must go through an eight-layered process to get clean.
While historical records show a patent for a laundry machine dating back as early as 1691, the first automatic washing machine designed for home use was not introduced until 1937. It probably sucked, but I bet everyone at the time thought it was amazing. Kind of like Tootsie Rolls. (They still make those by the way and never once, in my entire life, have I heard someone say, “Hey, do you have any Tootsie Rolls? Who is buying them?)
Since 1937, while many improvements have been made, the basic structure and operation of the washing machine is the same. To put that in perspective, we have not only gone to the moon and back many many times since then, we actually got BORED of going to the moon since then. Been there done that. Meanwhile, my freaking boxer briefs are on the other side of my bedroom stuck at step 5.
In a nutshell, as the doer of the Bornstein Family laundry, I strongly feel that something must change. Here’s the best solution I can come up with:
Every single person on earth gets their own personal washer and dryer designed to be stored and operated in their bedroom. It will replace the common dresser. They’ll come in all colors and styles. (Ikea will sell the coolest one you’ve ever seen, but when you move to a new apartment it will fall apart.) The new throughput for laundry will look like this:
- You take your clothes off and put them directly into the washing machine.
- You then take the wet clothes out and put them into the dryer.
- When you need a clean article of clothing, you fish around in your dryer until you find it and put it on.
Three steps. A 5-step improvement from our current model!
I think there is nothing left to say other than Quod Erat Demonstrandum. Oh, and you’re welcome.