Monday, November 12, 2007

I Before E, Except After Oui

C. Ratnor of Long Island writes:

I was a slob. Strike that, I am a slob. Always have been, always will be. As a kid my room was terminally chaotic. I know there was carpet, but would be hard pressed to describe it as it was always covered with a 7-layer-dip of shoes, toys, clothes, marbles, video games, action figures, and comics. Like many kids, this was okay with me and the opposite of that with my mom. By the time I was old enough to go to summer camp, she was practically frothing with excitement, jonesing at the opportunity to restore order to my rat's nest.

Upon my return, everything was as I expected/dreaded. The carpet, now an obvious canary blue berber with a light yellow through line, was all too clearly visible. The bed was neatly made. The toys were perfectly arranged on the shelves. And, of course, all the clothing had been crisply starched, ironed, folded, and put away. It was perfect. Too perfect. A natural contrarian I searched the room for defects. There were none to be found. Oh well, I thought. If this is how it-- WAIT! WHAT ABOUT?...

Frantically, I ripped open the closet door. Wading through the neatly pressed oxfords and perfectly creased khakis, I breast stroked my way to the rear. And there they were: each and every single one of my precious magazines, arranged as neatly as the local convenience store. But more than that, they were categorized by title and date! Penthouse before Playboy, Knockers before Oui, each and every stack was organized in what was clearly the first, and perhaps only, dewey decimal system of smut. The only thing missing from this library of the libido was an index card tacked to the door. Sweet, dear mother, did you really think that organizing my filthy habit would make me cherish it any less? Quite the opposite! For the next five years, until I departed for college, I maintained her system of classification with a rigor that would make Linnaeus himself blush!

To this day, my magazines are arranged as such. A tradition, I hope, my wife will never learn of.

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