Two decades ago, if I wanted to write a column about dishwashers, I would ask my brother why he didn’t have one. More often than not, he said something interesting, unique, and fun. I would send it to the newspapers and my readers would think I wrote it.
If he wasn’t home, I would visit attorney Crandall, Richard, and Julian and tell them I needed help with a dishwasher column. I pulled out my pocket notebook and doodled quickly, often asking them to repeat what they were saying so I got the wording right. And I usually howled with laughter as I went along. I had other sources: Ed Coffin, Faustini, Jimmy Parker and True Hall, but my brother and these three friends were my main ones.
It was no secret that they wrote dozens of very insightful and funny newspaper columns with my signature on each one.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you know things have changed. There are still a few good sources, but walking around to see friends isn’t as easy as it used to be. Perhaps much to your dismay, you’ve seen me turn to my Facebook friends for wit and wisdom that I can twist and pass off as my own.
There’s no way to tell which of my comments will generate interesting or humorous responses on Facebook. I posted this the other day: “Not owning a dishwasher is like never shopping at a big box store…it gives a warm sense of superiority.”
You’d think I said no coffee in the morning because 54 people had to comment. Like puppies chewing on the end of a bath towel, my Facebook friends couldn’t let go.
When I moved to this farmhouse in 1970, there was no dishwasher. There was, however, a hole in the wall where water from the sink drained through a pipe and landed in a puddle near the well in the back lawn.
I suspect the pipe and hole were modern improvements. Before that, used dishwater was probably carried outside in the basin and thrown into the garden or into a pan for the chickens. My great-grandmother’s twin sister, who in the 1850s lived next door to where I am now, was a saving woman. At the end of the day, she put the unused cooking water back into the bucket of water in the well.
Did you know that being vegan eliminates the need for a dishwasher? Me neither – until I read it on my Facebook page.
Another friend wrote: ‘I was given a washer and dryer as a housewarming gift when I moved to my farmhouse to renovate 23 years ago. I gave them away and I still go to the laundromat. I didn’t want to sacrifice so much ground floor space. Additionally, I associate owning a dishwasher with my late father, whose fatherly values and style I generally didn’t agree with and didn’t benefit much from.
Comments like that make you think you’re listening to people lying on Freud’s couch.
Others slip nonsense that has nothing to do with the subject matter: “What’s the difference between a cute roommate and a cold?” About 60 years old.
When Marsha helped me remember why we had a dishwasher, I realized we really had no say in the matter. Years ago, after spending a month with us here in our primitive Maine coast home, some friends gifted us one. When this machine died, Marsha’s Dutch nephews, who were visiting at the time, bought us another one.
Yes, I bought minor parts and repaired the first several times, but there came a day when some small gadgets essential to its operation could no longer be bought online for love or money. You nod because you’ve gone this route with many of your major appliances.
Dishwashers look a lot like newspaper columns. Sometimes you have to go out to get them. Sometimes they appear when you lie down in your favorite chair.
Another view: Hurricane Truss is doing all kinds of damage across the pond