The Secret Lives of Brooms and Mops
Public Service Announcement
I Realize That This
piece is taking a big chance. Not as chancy as walking a tightrope stretched from the Empire Building to another tall skyscraper, but chancy just the same. To some who understand the people who live life out of the spotlight, this hub has been a long time in coming. I took a lot of pains in securing the rights and permission(s) to get the photos that I thought just made the hub.
I did not know that publishing a mop was so involved. My ignorance surfaced when all that I thought was a common mop was just that, a common mop made from cloth stringers (that clean the floors when wet with water and cleaning solutions) and controlled by a wooden handle. This is how I grew up looking at my mom’s mop from my ages of seven to about twelve. When I reached twelve, I knew that this junction in my life was going to be sad, because at age 12, my interests changed to appreciating the common things in life, a mop, a coal scuttle, and a shovel that my dad loved to use in digging ditches. Frankly, our shovel turned out to be the tool with the coldest heart of all of dad’s tools that he kept in (where else?) his tool shed.
If You Read This Historical Piece
you will see that a mop (such as a floormop) is a mass or bundle of coarse strings or yarn, etc., or a piece of cloth, sponge, or other absorbent material, attached to a pole or stick. It is used to soak up liquid, for cleaning floors and other surfaces, to mop up dust, or for other cleaning purposes. The word (then spelled mappe) is attested in English as early as 1496, but new refinements and variations of mop designs have been introduced, from time to time. For example, American inventor Jacob Howe received U.S. patent #241 for a mop holder in 1837 and Thomas W. Stewart (U.S. patent #499,402) in 1893. By this account, we can longer use the term, ‘common mop,’ used in our homes, hospitals, factories, and schools.
Mops need to have our respect. They are American mops after all. And I know that fact may be cold in truth, but I also believe that our children need to be taught the importance of a mop when they reach the age of six. I will go further. Along with children graduating high school after 12 years of study, I think that our country should give millions to a new school institute, American Mop Institute—kids can sign-up and learn everything from beginning to end of the wooden handle to the last of the stringers that catch the grime and dust that whomever mops in our places of work and home, have taken for granted for too long.
A typical conversation about students and mops going to the new mop college may be:
Student (signing-up for studying in American Mop Institute: “Hi, Pete. How ya’ doing?”
Pete: “So, so. And you?”
Student: “Oh, I am bettering myself rather than spending four years of an average college with average studies, I am signing with the American Mop Institute and I feel great about it!”
Pete: “Is that anything like M.I.T.?”
Student: “That ignorant remark shows me that you need to go with me to the A.M.I.”
This student who is going to the A.M.I., is a proud student. Proud to be helping secure the fabric of Life in the United States all because of his interest in mops.
Now to Unwrap The Secret Lives of Mops
you may not know it, but mops do have a sorted life. They may take on the image of an humble, hard-working piece of household equipment that keeps our homes and offices clean, but in the hours of darkness after sundown and daylight, a tremendous change takes place. I would not be sharing this unless I knew what I was talking about.
An evening might start with the man and wife sitting in the living room watching TV or reading. (They could be talking, but I am not a marriage counselor), and their children are in their rooms studying for tomorrow’s classes, but the kitchen is dark. Dark as the coal mines in Kentucky. “Mildred Mop,” who was been standing so alluring against a storage closet in the kitchen has prepared herself—taking all of the loose straw in her broom and to make sure that “Boom Broom” notices her, she changes from a wooden to an aluminum handle because it is 2019, not 1980. No disco or John Travolta with his buddies in some dance club.
Around 10 p.m., the man and wife, after watching the evening news, they prepare to retire for bed. With showers taken, the two head to bed to rest because they both work in pressure-driven offices in the city and each of them comes home stressed. But not “Boom Broom” with his hair all straight-up (like the dancers in New York finest clubs) he is anxious to dance with “Mildred.”
Almost like an explosion like a jet breaking the Sonic Boom (get it?) the closet doors swing open and here comes “Mildred,” twirling around like a finely-trained Russian ballerina—she gazes like a laser beam into “Boom” and he becomes shaken with worry. This is their first date in the dark kitchen and although he has been around the living room area, he knows his way around. But “Mildred,” who has performed an excellent job of keeping her talents secret is about to unleash such Mop Sensations, that not even “Boom” in is worldliness and tact, may not keep up with her.
The dance goes on for hours. The two dance and twirl the Tango, Waltz, and other modern dances that “Mildred” has brought to the table and frankly, “Boom” is covered with sweat from the dancing and nerves. “Mildred” is sensational. She never tires. But “Boom” is a few years older than she is and has to ask her for a breather because a lot of his straws are causing him to itch and that would cause him to lose face with “Mildred,”and no self-respecting broom would ever live down such an embarrassing moment.
In Other Mop and Broom Worlds
there are the the mops with thin aluminum handes, in short, the Sophisticated Mops who do nothing but look sleek every day until a maid or butler uses it for some mild-cleaning. Then there is the mop who has no principles. She will mop with any broom on the block and brag about it to her Mop Friends who stay on the corner asking for another mopping. This is a dangerous world. The world of both good mops and those with no morals. But that’s life. And it takes all of the mops and brooms combined to make a Sparkling Universe made clean by using every mop’s talents.
Then you have the Mop Children who are just out of high school and do not want to attend the A.M.I, (American Mop Institute), instead they go to a place where they are trained for tasks such as whisking the dust off of men and women’s clothing or whisking the floors of their fine cars and trucks that cost way more than an average human (me) life. Whisk Brooms are of small stature, but they are so cute. Some of these little brooms are able to be adopted by the parental Mr. and Mrs. Broom and Mop, but only if these older cleaning tools prove to show that they have lived a clean life.
I’m reminded by our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, “Whatever you are, be a good one.”
This statement will hit you when you least expect it.
August 22, 2019_______________________________________________________
Rights Advisory: No known restrictions. For information, see U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black & White Photographs.
© 2019 Kenneth Avery