A Definitive Ranking Of The Top Ten Most Painful Childhood Chores
It's hard to put adversity in perspective when you're too young to know what the word actually means. It's for this reason so many children rely on a coping mechanism known as "sobbing hysterically" whenever they're faced with any obstacle.
It's easy to think every minor inconvenience is the worst thing to ever happen to you when you haven't lived long enough to experience any real suffering. When you're used to the world revolving around you, it's hard to come to terms with the fact it actually doesn't.
Bursting into tears to protest things you don't feel like doing becomes less and less effective as the years go by, and this rapidly emptying reservoir of sympathy can make it even harder to cope with your inability to get your way.
This was especially true when it came to doing household chores, a brutal form of child labor the government has somehow decided to turn a blind eye to -- at least that's how I remember feeling about them when I was younger.
I was in a particularly masochistic mood this weekend and decided to take a trip down a memory lane lined with the basic tasks that made every other Saturday afternoon absolutely miserable as a kid.
When basically every other chore on this list requires some sort of physical labor, it's hard to complain about vacuuming considering the most strenuous part of the process involves burning a single calorie then wrapping the cord up at the end.
There also aren't many things more satisfying than the sound of all the Doritos crumbs you'd previously dropped onto the floor getting sucked inside. Not to mention treating the floor like a Japanese lawn garden as you draw lines in the carpet like a monk raking the sand.
Speaking of raking...
Wow. What a fantastic and virtually seamless segue.
You know what sucks? Having to clear your entire yard using a glorified tree branch when you know there's a perfectly good leaf blower sitting in the garage that your dad doesn't think you're old enough to use.
You know what doesn't suck? Jumping into a giant pile of leaves after you're done. Sure, you'll spend another 15 minutes undoing the damage you did after leaping into it, but that's a price everyone should be willing to pay to experience nature's ball pit.
8. Any cleaning that involves the use of chemicals
I'm going to lump mopping, dusting and window-washing into one category here because while they all have their pros and cons, they do share one major theme: the use of cleaning products that smell nice and make your brain feel even nicer.
I know more and more companies these days are trying to come up with products that are "non-toxic" and don't "severely stunt neural development at an early age," but this would have easily fallen in the top five if it wasn't for Pine-Sol.
Sweeping is what you get when you take vacuuming and remove all of the efficiency.
It would have the potential to be as therapeutic if it weren't for that ever-present line of dirt that gathers at the opening of the dustpan and will only disappear if you sweep enough to wear a hole in the floor that it can fall down.
6. Emptying the garbage
I had a hard time figuring out where to put this one.
On a good day, you might have to haul a couple of relatively neutral-smelling bags into the garage. Sometimes you can even get away with not replacing the bags in the bathroom trash for at least a few weeks before people get suspicious.
However, there aren't many experiences more miserable than dealing with an overstuffed bag of garbage that ripped two days before, creating a pungent cocktail in the bottom of the trash can with an odor that makes you dry heave when it hits your nostrils.
It's basically the Russian Roulette of household chores.
Most people have to pay 85 cents a pound to have their laundry magically washed and folded for them, but the first decade of my life I was lucky enough to have a Laundry Fairy (in the form of my mother) who was willing to do that for no charge at all.
Unfortunately, her goodwill ran out around the time my body's sweat glands decided to start working, and for the first time in my life I was forced to deal with the horrible smells and indomitable stains I'd previously pawned off on other people.
I learned a valuable lesson about karma that day. It wouldn't be the last.
I know I gave raking a relatively low score on the Insufferable Index, but just because it's not as bad as the others on this list doesn't mean it's enjoyable.
Raking is already annoying enough on its own -- I don't need to know what it's like to do it in freezing weather with a substance that actually weighs something.
3. Unstacking the dishwasher
I was lucky enough to have siblings to split this daily duty with, but having another person to take one of the racks off your hands didn't necessarily make things that much easier.
This is especially true when your hands ended up covered in lukewarm water and chunks of whatever food somehow managed to survive the rinse cycle by hiding in the coffee mug someone forgot to turn over.
2. Unstacking the silverware in the dishwasher.
This technically falls under the umbrella of the previous entry, but I'd be doing a disservice to the silverware rack if I didn't acknowledge it existing in a much deeper circle of Chores Hell.
You're basically a domesticated Indiana Jones without the whip, cool theme music and sense of adventure -- instead of dodging spears in a booby-trapped temple, you're trying to avoid getting poked by a seemingly endless supply of forks and steak knives while standing in your kitchen.
I was originally going to use this space to make a joke involving the words "Temple of Gloom," but I won't stoop to that level. Feel free to make up your own before moving on to the final chore.
1. Making your bed
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results, anyone who makes his or her bed on a daily basis should be institutionalized. While it may not be as labor-intensive as other activities, the sheer pointlessness of the activity is enough to put it at the top.
Making your bed is kind of like voting: the people who do it feel the incessant need to preach about how about important it is to everyone else so they can tell themselves they're not wasting their time on a fundamentally symbolic activity.
This is the one chore that continues to pain me to this day, and I don't see how it can be ranked anywhere but at number one.