Monday, November 5, 2012

Cleanliness

The Hooligan Hobo and I are no strangers to joyful bachelor sloth and the delight of spending weeks wearing sweat pants and living off delivered food. So we both know firsthand how important a clean environment is to our mental health. Peeling the sticky mucus that was once a Chinese takeaway bag from the floor, collecting and emptying the rotting carcasses of chicken breasts scattered around the  table, triumphantly sweeping the curtains open to allow the daylight to invade the murk like a hero banishing the vampire. And most importantly - having a shower and a shave.

Why is having a clean living space conducive or even a prerequisite to getting crap done?  It's not a very rational procedure, which means I must enter the seedy world of psychobabble for a possible explanation.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness as the old saying goes and cleanliness is an important feature of many religious rituals where it becomes a form of self-purification, a symbol of letting the past go and starting afresh, of preparation for repentance and worship.

As author Robert Smith in Breakfast with Socrates notes : 
And very few of us leave home in the morning without some act, however mechanical, of self-purification.... The point of getting clean in the morning is to create a blank canvass in which something better than yesterday can be painted and more life can be lived.

Our need to shower and clean is a form of preparation; of wiping the slate clean, to start afresh. When the fast food grease is scrubbed from my face and the sweaty slept-in clothes banished to the basket and after my freshly purified body is adorned with clean underpants and cheep aftershave, I feel prepared to begin. The sloth has finished and it's time to go outside and return to the land of the living.

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