Humor Non-Fiction posted July 28, 2020

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(534 words) Mothers might not like this!

Cleaning Is A Drag

by LisaMay

In this true ‘How-to’ article, I will teach you a new cleaning technique. It’s a guaranteed boredom-buster with a human duster. Ooops! That’s a bit of poetry. I see that poetry isn’t allowed. Please don’t disqualify me, or readers will never learn this brilliant new skill.

This contest asked for entrants to “Keep it clean, please”, so my instructional piece is totally on the topic of keeping it clean. 

Another requirement for this prompt was “nothing requiring a flag”. I assure you a flag is not part of the necessary equipment for this technique (unless the flag is rolled up and used as a duster, but that would be abuse of our national symbol and therefore deeply disrespectful).

Yet another request was “If you use outside resources, be sure they are fully documented.” Therefore, I will document that the outside resource I used was a small boy. He came in from outside, so I hope that counts. Resourcefully, we invented this effective “how-to” technique.

To dust the wooden floor under a billiard table. 

Note: This technique was developed in an elegant house museum, namely Olveston Historic Home in Dunedin, New Zealand ( However, the execution of the task is not site-specific. Feel free to utilise this technique when dusting beneath your own billiard, snooker, or pool table.

1. One bored small boy. 
2. One bored housekeeper.
3. A broom.
4. A sense of humour (use a dry wit).
5. An apology.

Note: A bored small girl would be just as effective, but they are not always available. Girls seem to be more able to entertain themselves. Something else to consider: it is never too early to show a man what housework looks like.

1. Get the boy to lie on his back beneath the billiard table. (Preferably, he will be dressed in school uniform: a woollen blazer is wonderful for picking up dirt.)
2. The housekeeper pokes the broom head under the table so the child can grip it. 
3. She then drags the broom along with the child attached.
4. Depending on the width of the table, several laps may be required.
5. Make sure not to laugh too loudly before the job is completed. You won’t want to attract attention that may interfere with your fun.
6. While sweeping, think how you will apologise to the boy’s mother for the filthy state of his clothes while he was in your care.

Note: Show your consideration by making sure to drag the boy under the table ON HIS BACK. By doing this his coat buttons won’t scratch the waxed oak floor.

This is a true story. I work part-time as a tour guide at Olveston Historic Home in Dunedin, New Zealand. ( The boy's mother works there as a front-of-house staff member. The house is huge and requires a lot of dusting. It has a fantastic billiard room, as you can see in the accompanying photo. One day the boy was waiting after school for his mother to finish work and was trailing around with me. No visitors had arrived for the scheduled tour, so I was filling time with dusting. I got the boy involved as my human broom.


A 'How-To' Contest--Teach Us! contest entry



Author's Note: Word count = 534
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