Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Untidy Consequences:

Did the Oil Spill Start at Dunkin Donuts?

© 2010 Leighann Lord

Okay, I’m a neat freak. I’m at peace with that and I know it colors how I view the world. Where people see cold and sterile, I see order and cleanliness. What people call “lived in” and “homey,” I call chaos. How people choose to keep their homes is their business, but the space we share with each other comes with certain obligations. Rule number one: Don’t be a slob.

was sitting in Dunkin Donuts, enjoying a cheap cup of coffee when a father came in with four kids – three boys and a girl – all under the age of 10. I usually only see moms saddled with such a sizeable brood so I guess it must’ve been Dad’s weekend with the kids. I braced myself for pandemonium but kudos to Dad: all of the kids were reasonably well behaved. There was a wee bit of running around, and misuse of the outdoor voice in an indoor setting but nothing egregious.

Unfortunately, no points on the dismount. After such a promising start, Dad and company walked out of Dunkin Donuts leaving behind a filthy table littered with used napkins, cups and crumbs. Yeah, I know. It’s Dunkin Donuts. There’s a guy who wanders out every so often to wipe off the tables and mop the floor, but damn. If you have to clean up after your dog, shouldn’t you have to clean up after your own kids?

sn’t it part of the unspoken public code of conduct that in fast food restaurants without wait service we’re supposed to bus our own tables? Dad blew a teachable moment, instead showing his kids that it’s ok to make a mess and walk away. Maybe they have household help at home to do the dirty work, but on this occasion Mr. Belvedere was elsewhere.

ostering a disregard for the condition of our shared space has long term consequences. When these kids go to college, they’re going to make lousy roommates. If they ever plan to do a Spring break abroad, they might want to skip Singapore. In 1994, 18-year-old American, Michael Fay, was sentenced to a four-stroke caning for theft and vandalism. I know. Slovenliness is not the same but who’s to say it’s not the gateway? Today – with Dad’s blessing – the kids are leaving the table without cleaning it off. Tomorrow they’re littering and destroying public property. And why not? Someone else will clean it up.

hat kind of spouses will these kids become? Most likely bitter and divorced. A recent study by The London School of Economics found that divorce is “less likely if the husband helps with the housework.” Oh, well. If the research is right, someday these boys will spend an afternoon in a donut shop with their kids, leaving a load of litter for someone else to look after. On the bright side the girl will make some pigsty guy very happy.

worry not that these kids will grow up to just be slobs sure to get their 15 minutes of fame on reality shows like “Clean House” or “Hoarders,” but worse. They’ll become oil industry executives who play fast and loose with the rules. They’ll make a catastrophic, ecological mess that they’ll have no idea how to fix, making all of us the defacto Dunkin Donuts clean up guy.

Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian. June 25 - July5 she'll be performing for the troops in Kosovo! Check out her other upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

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