Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Cure For Ironing

With the World Cup taking place in South Africa this year, there has been a lot of talk about aid to Africa.

Let me do my bit.

It won't cure any of the Big Three: AIDS, Malaria and TB. And it won't solve world hunger, political instability, government corruption, environmental destruction or a shattered economy.

Damn. What the hell am I doing talking about IRONING?!

But, in my little neck of the woods, it's what I've got. And it's a big deal.

Americans don't iron. Sure, we do hubby's suits and our own nicer outfits. But anyone ironing jeans is a total freak. Or a cowboy from the South. In which case it's okay. Cowboys need those creases.

I've honestly never seen my mother with an iron. Dad's suits went to the dry-cleaners, who even picked up and delivered to the door. His scrubs (and later, mine) were done at the office.

My first hint that ironing was such a big deal in the rest of the world came in Haiti. They used coal-heated irons to press their Sunday best. And managed not to get muddy on the way to church. Pretty impressive.

And then an eastern European colleague of a friend in Geneva boasted about how his wife - who had three degrees and spoke five languages - ironed his underwear.

Not at all impressive.

Here in Altdorf people go into shock when they think of all the laundry I have to do. Huh? I run a household of six people and a dog - and they're worried about the LAUNDRY?!! I didn't get it at first. What's to do? Throw it in and press a button. Voila.

But it's the ironing that's dragging everybody down.

And since some of those everybody's are close friends of mine - friends who have helped me more than they know - I am doing my best to return the favor.


I know, I know. But, in South Africa, you had help. And ironing your clothes provided their children with sustenance, shelter and education. Not a bad thing.

Here your ironing takes you away from time with your own kids. Or with your husband. (Try using that argument when he wonders why his underwear isn't pressed and starched!)

You've simply got better ways to spend your time than ironing.

Okay. This makes you uncomfortable. I am messing with your heritage, after all.

So just try this, a little compromise.


Just the children's clothes. Just two weeks.

Noone will notice. Noone will care.

And I promise, it will change your life forever!

Who knows, with all that extra time, and the example you set for your daughters, maybe they will find a cure for AIDS, malaria or TB.

And in the grand scheme of things, isn't that way more important than ironing?!


  1. My family is fortunate to have CLEAN clothes!!! They don't even expect them to be IRONED!

  2. Brenda. So thrilled to hear from you again. We kind of lost touch - I think about your child four and our child two. (We're still trying to catch up though; still working on it!!!)


    Lots of happy, wrinkled kids.