Every once in a while I need to smack myself upside the head

by Gerry Conway

Every once in a while I need to smack myself upside the head. (I’m pretty sure other people think I should do this more often than I do, but bear with me.)

This morning I was about to do the laundry (I do the laundry in my house because I’m a Woke Husband; the fact I’m also hopelessly OCD about how the laundry should be done has nothing to do with it) when I discovered that our housekeeper had left some rags in the washing machine several days earlier without telling me, and now they smelled of mildew. I was annoyed and started to complain about it to my miraculously tolerant wife Laura when I paused and mentally smacked myself upside the head.

Really? This is what I thought was important enough to become annoyed about? Wet rags in a washing machine left by a housekeeper? Let’s parse the several layers of entitlement contained in that flash of annoyance, shall we?

First of all and most obvious– I have a loving wife to complain to who doesn’t tell me I’m an insufferable idiot for complaining.

Second and almost equally obvious– we have a housekeeper.

Third and less obvious– I’m retired and have enough free time to indulge my OCD.

Fourth and not as obvious– we have a washing machine and a drier.

Fifth and implied– we have a house for the housekeeper to clean and a place in the house for a washer and drier.

Sixth and unspoken– we live in a part of the world and at a time in human history when both of the items in number five are not remotely unusual.

Seventh and personal– my parents only achieved the goal of number five after fifteen years of marriage.

Eighth and personal– my grandparents never did.

Ninth and personal– my great-grandparents wouldn’t have understood what the hell I was talking about in points one through five.

It’s easy to take our present reality (whatever it may be, good or bad, privileged or persecuted) as the way things have always been, and may always be. It’s important always to remember that we stand at one brief moment in history (world history, American history, personal history) and that if we’re lucky, we’re much better off than those who came before us– and if we’re currently unlucky, our situation can always become much better than we can imagine at the moment.

See? Even the ordinary and prosaic chore of doing laundry can be an opportunity for personal insight and a smack upside the head.


Proof that writers don’t always feel the need to write about writing from Gerry Conway, one of the Kings of TV and film and comic book writing and also one of our Beloved Leader Larry Brody’s longest-lasting and closest friends. Everybody who comes to TVWriter™ should be reading his insightful blog, where this article first appeared. Learn more about Gerry HERE.