Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Soap Monitor
Yesterday morning, as I was unwrapping a new bar of soap for use in the shower, I was struck once again by the importance of my job as Family Soap Monitor. Over the years, there’s no telling how much soap I’ve saved by salvaging the shards of used bars and gluing them to the new bar — welding the pieces together, matching the cracks and seams, fitting them together like a puzzle, centering them on the new bar so they don’t slide off, making sure there are no stray hairs between the old and the new — by now, even by a modest, conservative estimate, I’ve probably saved three or four bars.
Lest you think I’m just a frugal nut, I’m equally devoted to the artistic presentation of the finished piece. It’s important to me that subsequent bathers have a hand-fashioned soap-sculpture they can admire, and which, on lucky days, sparks the imagination.
There’s nothing worse than stepping into a shower, only to find pieces of soap on the floor, melting, in various stages of decay. I admit, though, that even after all these years, there are certain family members who think, “It’s just soap.” And to them I always say, “You didn’t live through the Great Depression.” I didn’t either, of course. But I was raised on vivid family Depression stories, and I know the value of things. And with the very real possibility of another Depression hanging over us, saving soap is an heroic act. It’s also an act of awareness, responsibility, and joy not unlike that of reading to a child, writing a poem, or baking a loaf of bread.
Then again, maybe I am just a frugal nut.
Recently linked: Appropriately, Cassandra LaMothe, whose cheerful comments I always enjoy, has linked to Recently Banned Literature from her blog, A Bit of Silliness. Visitors will also find a link to her main poetry blog, Caught in the Dawning, in the left column under “Reading Room.” Thanks, Cassie!