Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beware of UNDERWEAR??

During the teaching portion of my career, during the years before my daughter was born and while she was quite young, I had a practice of ironing my five dress shirts for the coming week on Sunday evenings while I listened to a local and live sports show on the radio. As it was a terrific way to pass a couple of hours (hey, I never claimed to be a speedster at ironing – just efficient!), I didn’t mind the Sunday evening routine.

One day, a student’s mother came to visit me on a variety of issues with regard to her son. She was late for the appointment. She explained that her lateness was due to the fact that she had to pick up her husbands shirts from the cleaners.

Prior to that meeting, I had never thought of taking my shirts to the cleaners. And, even after thinking about the 2-hour per week savings of my time, I couldn’t pull the trigger on the luxury – the thought of having other people perform a simple task for me for money seemed to be a colossal waste of money ….. but, the thought of saving the two hours each week also seemed inviting. What was my time worth?

I thought about this scenario many times over the next few years – especially on Sunday evenings! During this time, it was noted that other teachers often treated themselves to a gift upon entering the land of school administration – often it was a new car, a new boat, a fancy vacation, etc.

I decided that my gift to myself would be …. you guessed it, I would pay somebody else to iron my shirts when I someday left the teaching ranks to move into the Principal’s Office! But, for the next few years, I continued to iron my own shirts every Sunday night while listening to the local sports radio show.

And, then finally, the great move to the Principal’s Office arrived!! I kept my promise to myself and I gathered up all of my dress shirts, stuffed them into a large garbage bag, and then placed the bag near the door for transport to the cleaners during the next morning.

The next morning, the greatly anticipated moment was upon me!! Keeping my promise to myself, I placed the large garbage bag of shirts into my car and drove to the cleaners. With a great feeling of satisfaction – after all, I waited several years for this moment of gratification and I was actually becoming a Principal – I walked in to the cleaners and, with a touch of nervousness (I still felt a little guilty about this reward!), I told the approximately 50-year-old female clerk that I had several shirts for cleaning and ironing. She told me to empty the bag on the counter.

I quickly and eagerly dumped all of the contents on the counter ...... approximately 20 dress shirts and ..... ONE PAIR OF A LITTLE GIRL'S FLOWERED UNDERWEAR!!!!!! The clerk gave me a strange look, I mumbled something about the underwear belonging to my daughter, I nervously explained that I was unclear as to how it got there, and then I waited for 100 hours (it was probably only 1 minute, but it seemed like 100 hours!!!!) to get my receipts and quickly beeline it out of the store!!!

When I got home, still quite red-faced about the incident, I asked my 3-year-old daughter if she had placed a pair of her underwear in the large garbage bag by the door. She gleefully said “YES”. She seemed to be joyful and quite proud of her admission. The explanation? She knew that I was quite excited with my delayed reward and she thought that it would be a great idea to share the reward with her – so she placed a pair of her flowered and decidedly quite feminine underwear in her masculine father’s dress shirt bag, so that her underwear could also be washed and ironed just like her dad’s shirts!!!!!!

Yes, as my daughter could clearly see that her dad was jubilant over the fact that he would now have his shirts laundered, she wanted to share in the joy!!!!!

It’s a great feeling when a child wants to share the joy with a parent .. but, uh, check the contents of the large garbage bag BEFORE you leave the house!

Paul W. Reeves

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