Sense and Nonsense: When a mop is not a mop, or cleaning a floor with only imagination

By Lynda Hollenbeck

I look forward to a serious mopping project with about the same degree of enthusiasm I reserve for surgery sans anesthesia or being rolled buck naked on a gurney around the courthouse square.
Domestic chores in general are not the sort of thing that get me revved up, but eventually, as they say in the commune, someone has to take out the garbage.
And so it goes with mopping at the House of Hollenbeck. The time comes when it has to be done.
I was thinking of this the other day as I tackled that chore that is offensive to every part of me, especially my back, which isn't the greatest.
But as I was doing what had to be done — since it was either Lynda doing it or harnessing up a cleaning vessel to one of the dogs and yelling "mush!" — I thought back to the time we acquired what was to be the ideal mop.
My late spouse was equally enthusiastic about domestic chores, so the two of us could be immediately intrigued when we would hear about any sort of revolutionary new method that would make household task easier.
As far as mopping methods go, my personal preference would be a handsome genie I could pop out of the bottle any time the floor needed attention and sic him on the dirt. But, alas, genies aren't in abundance these days, so other options must be explored.
This is how Ed came upon the Grab It Go Mop, which was claimed to be the "in" item for modern-day moppers, according to the advertisers.
This was a mop in which the cleaning agent was poured into the mop itself and you would push on a little lever-like device to release the substance. (Like the Swiffers now, but this was pre-Swiffer days.) There was no rinsing out the nasty mop — one of the nastiest of drudgeries — because the mop came with disposable cloths attached to the spongy part. When a cloth would become soiled, you would just dispose of it and grab another one — get it? "Grab It" — and mop away.
"This sounds like the perfect mop for us," Ed boasted.
It did sound like the ideal mop for me and my back.
At the time this was happening, I had psyched myself up to tackle the vinyl floors that hadn't had as much as what my mother used to call a lick and a promise when she couldn't give a job 200 percent of her chase-away-every-speck-of-dirt style of cleaning. Truth be told, these floors barely had been swept with a glance.
A word of explanation: The Grab It Go Mop came in a cardboard box and the instructions on the outside noted that it would need some assembly. Ed volunteered to be the assembler.
While I was cleaning out a kitchen cabinet — I was totally out of character and in an ultra-homemaker mode on this particular day — he opened the box to begin the assembly process. The first thing that alerted me to a possible problem was his expression. He was puzzled. This much was obvious.
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"Well, I just don't know what this is," he answered as he pulled out two long, clear plastic, sleeve-like sacks containing colored disk-like objects that resembled coasters.
The next thing he took out was a videotape.
"What's the video for?" I asked.
"I have absolutely no idea," he said.
"Well, maybe those little things in the sack are the cloths and you have to unfold them to use them," I said, seriously taxing my imagination to come up with this wild conjecture.
Ed looked even more perplexed.
"Well, I don't know what these things in the sack are, but there's an even bigger problem," he said.
"And that would be?"
"There's no mop," he replied.
His expression was blank. Deadpan, as it were.
"Oh, come on, Ed," I said. "There's got to be a mop in there."
"Well, if it's here, it's invisible."
"That means we've got to take it back to the store," I answered. "I'll do it."
Before I took off for Wally World, we thoroughly examined the contents of the mop box that had no mop. And let me add that the cardboard container had not been opened before Ed bought it. Its vacuum seal was intact.
Investigation revealed that we had been sold the promotional kit that included a demo video and 100 Grab It Go Mop buttons for the salespeople to wear to promote the sensational new product. That's what the little saucer-like things were in the two sacks.
Apparently, you don't need a mop to show others how to use one.
I guess it would be comparable to teaching someone how to drive without the car.
Go figure.

Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.