Ever have a bad smell in your house for which you can’t blame a spouse or a pet? A putrid odor was in my kitchen. I checked the garbage. Nope. I checked the pantry. Nada. I check the garbage disposal. Aha! So I did what other 1960s Home Ec trained women do—poured bleach down into the disposal. To no avail. The odor I named Stinky still emanated from the drain. I poured a half cup of bleach and then a cup of vinegar into the disposal. As I watched the reactive foam bubble and heard the sizzle of the chemical reaction, I said aloud, “Farewell, Stinky.”
But Stinky stubbornly remained. I’ve had houseguests who would have fled if I had treated them so badly. Why was Stinky still hanging around? I did the next best thing–I called the smartest friend I knew—retired physician, scrupulous house keeper, and master of much knowledge. She asked, “Have you cleaned under the rubber gasket of your disposal? You know, the black rubber thing?” I used baking soda and vinegar, I answered. “Not enough,” she said. “You have to use Clorox Wipes and clean off the stuff that the disposal throws up. It’s pretty gunky.”
“Throws up” and “gunky” should have been clues to what the task involved. Alas, I was naïve. I confidently got out the Clorox Wipes, tore off one dainty towelette, and thrust my ungloved hand and the trusty Stinky buster into the disposal. Within a nanosecond, I felt the slimy, greasy, pasty, oily, nasty, abhorrent residue from many months of pulverizing food into a liquified cocktail of nastiness. Within the second nanosecond, the feel of slime on my fingers registered in my brain as a cue for vomiting. The queasiness escalated when I pulled out the blackened glop-covered wipe. Homemaker guilt crushed me—this was my fault. But I had to prevail against Stinky! I quelled dry heaves, and after twenty or so wipes and ten or so paper towels, the glop and Stinky were gone.
The experience with Stinky and his demise made me think about other slimy undersides in our lives that need attention. And getting rid of them frees us from stench that makes us miserable. We have to face the slimy underside of problems. Have a toxic relationship? Use a mental Clorox Wipe to get rid of the slime-ball. Trying to lose weight but can’t? Peer into the underside of your eating. Maybe more of what’s on your plate should go down the drain (yes, THAT drain). Stinky can be those things we are afraid to look at, and he’s a stubborn bastard. But once we see what’s there, we can take control and wipe away the slimy residue that fouls up our lives. No longer am I afraid of the underside of the black rubber thing in my disposal. I’m smart enough to look once in a while so Stinky cannot, will not, take up residence again. Mostly importantly, I’m armed, and ready, for other germ-laden or emotional Stinkys.
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