Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I was clotheslined by an article on clotheslines (that's hard to say; it gives one a syntactical lisp; also, how do you like my use of the same word as a verb and as a noun?).

Using a clothesline saves energy, the kind of energy consumed by dryers and their high-temperature swirling and tumbling.

Using a clothesline to dry your clothes also has the potential to offend neighbors who view the airing of one's formerly dirty laundry as unsightly and unseemly (undies! bras! T-shirts! Y-fronts! seminally stained satin semantics!). There goes the formerly lily-white neighborhood, some say, fearing a splash of rainbowed raiment and a bust of their unbrassiered real-estate booty.

I am old enough to remember our backyard clothesline, one that twirled like an umbrella. It worked fine. Ironic, isn't it? The Fifties, remembered as so prim and white and monolithic and orderly and righteous, were really sloppy and multicolored and raggedy, the era's clothes flapping in the wind or in the hot summer sun for all the world to see -- unlike the decade's private lives and private thoughts.

There is a semantic delight to all this, one that The Laughorist is always wordie wordiliciously keen to share with his or her readers:

wind energy drying devices.

That's the term some local legislators are using to legislate in favor of clotheslines.

Yes, indeed. A clothesline is a wind-energy drying device [hyphen added by Mr. Redactor].

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