I was just putzing around in the kitchen, rearranging the salt and pepper shakers so that they looked more like pepper and salt shakers, getting the spices in proper alphabetical order, and wiping off the counters so the crumbs you could see there, and which felt gritty, were only a nuisance on the floor where they crunched under my shoes until they sounded and felt like the sand in the neighbors sandbox. I have probably done the same thing a thousand times. I like things neat (I’ll get to cleaning the crunchy floor in short order) and in place. Doing that arranging and wiping fills a basic need that I just can’t ignore. So there I am, satisfying that primal need when my reverie was disturbed by a shriek that, at that moment, was more primal than my need, which is to say, blood curdling and otherworldly.
Luckily I avoided wetting myself from the shock because I recognized where the scream was coming from. I’ve heard similar sounds in the past when Mary needs to get my attention or has a bug buzzing up her tutu. This time her outcry was aimed at me.
“What are you doing, you idiot? What rag are you using?” She was out of control over what she saw in my hand. “That’s my (oxymoron alert) GOOD RAG! You only use that on the counters and nothing else, you moron. You never listen to me (mostly true). You just grab whatever is handy without thinking about what you’re doing. I’ve told you a million times that that is an (oxymoron alert) EXPENSIVE RAG and now you’ve probably ruined it.”
“I thought it was just a rag.” I answered. “It looks just like all the other rags around here.” I was so surprised by her reaction to my innocent use of a RAG, that I failed to come up with a suitably trenchant retort.
“This RAG is sacred. You are not allowed to use it ever again.” She snatched it from my hand and ritually draped it carefully on the towel bar.
“Sacred?” I was dumbfounded by that. “Why is it sacred? Did Jesus wipe his ass with it or something?” I may have gone too far with that last question. But you all know, don’t you, that I was referring to the donkey that Jesus used to haul his carpenter’s tools from job to job. Mary, however, is convinced that I now have a place all ready and waiting for me in the hottest corner of hell. And not necessarily for my blasphemy, but more likely for my misuse of that sacred RAG.