Also Known As Quitting When You're Ahead
By Wendy A. Jones
I got an ad in the mail this week. It was for a cleaning company, and it made me mad.
I don't generally get mad at the junk mail. I figure it's just one of those annoying things a person has to deal with on occasion, like unperforated toilet paper. Just as I don't curse the businesses that put giant rolls in their restrooms, I don't curse the businesses who send me advertisements in my mailbox. Junk mail is a part of life.
I was shaken from my laissez-faire approach when a particular ad caught my eye. Its slogan?
Life's too short to clean your own home.
This, I thought to myself, is what's wrong with America today!
We feel too good to clean our own homes! Don't we realize that to even have a home is an amazing blessing? How many people in the world don't have anywhere warm and dry to sleep?
My brain continued on this thread for awhile, looping through words like "entitled" and "stewardship."
I took a step back and asked myself why I was acting so crazy over junk mail.
It's not like I'm some great housekeeper. (I'm so totally not.) It's not like I have anything against hiring a housekeeper. (Also, so totally not. I've considered it on occasion, although have never felt I could justify the expense.) I don't mind cleaning companies in general. (Thinking about Merry Maids doesn't get the bile up at all.) So why was this ad unbalancing me?
I realized the message the ad sent me was not the message the company intended to send. I got hooked on the last bit, the part where it says "your own home." Now,
Life's too short to clean
is a slogan I can get behind. But my sense of responsibility balks when I add the last three words. Even though the "your own home" is implied in "Life's too short to clean," it doesn't make me cringe. It's pleasing.
Our writing is sometimes like this--we say too much. Often, less really is more. The difficult part is drawing the line.
*Photo taken from the Internet. If you like the house, it's for sale. Somewhere.