Euclid in the Dishwasher

You really should see me load a dishwasher. Certainly it is a thing of beauty. Not unlike a carefully choreographed piece of modern performance art. I can fit a remarkable amount of dishes into a standard-issue dishwasher. I can feel my connection to the ancient Greeks with their mastery of mathematics and engineering, as I configure just one more plate, just one more spoon, with precision, cunning, craft, and (dare I say it?) yes, even creative expression.

I’m convinced that my skill was borne not as a clear symptom of clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder, as you might suggest, rather from a childhood of hearing, “You’ve gotta get that in there. We’re not gonna run that thing more than once. Do you have any idea how much water costs?”

The very existence of the question implies that it must have been some fabulous amount. As a child, I pictured water sheiks rolling around in their extravagant palaces made of ice, sloshing ankle deep with water throughout. Sleeping on waterbeds the size of a moonbounce, enough for their entire harem to lounge about lazily. (No doubt that would explain the bikinis which also occur within my imagination.)

Nevertheless, it’s like a complicated puzzle. I’ve had friends tell me, “You know, that stuff’s not really getting clean when you pack so much in.” Huns. Savages. Heathens. It’s already clean when I put it into my fantastical splash-on-hot-soapy-water machine. Besides, you simply don’t get it. I’m not just piling it in there willy-nilly. Each placement is carefully considered and calculated, positioning each unique piece with an eye for turning its “dirty” surface in a direction where optimal splashage can occur. Neanderthals.

Ironically, the same discipline of parenting that made me into this monster will not pass into the next generation. Trust my kids with loading the dishwasher? Even if they could understand why I do it the way I do, there’s no way I could sufficiently explain it to them. Are you crazy? Nobody is even allowed to touch this dishwasher except Daddy. And everybody in our house knows it.

What’s your relationship with YOUR dishwasher like? What about your other appliances? What’s a radical skill you’ve cultivated over time that no one else seems to appreciate?

16 Responses to “Euclid in the Dishwasher”

  1. Kathleen Soukup September 8, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    I am the exact same way! My peeps are always trying to load my dishwasher with their sub-par skills. It not only makes me crazy, but makes more work for me when I have to completely re-do it.

    Amen, Brother Brannon! Preach on!

    • admin September 8, 2010 at 10:42 am #

      The trick is to re-do it without them catching you, so you don’t hurt their all-too-delicate, so-called “feelings.”

  2. Cissa September 8, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    I always thought I was crazy for being so picky about how the dishwasher was loaded. Does the fact that I am not alone make it any less crazy? Just curious…

    • admin September 8, 2010 at 10:42 am #

      Unfortunately, Cissa, there are too many factors involved for me to accurately answer your question. The dishwasher is simply one of thousands. :)

  3. Karin September 8, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    I have given the dishwasher task to my teenager….I am always finding that she has run it with a half-load of dishes. She also does not place them right and the utensil holder will tip over mid-wash. She laughed at me once when I told her there was an “art” to loading a dishwasher properly. I also cannot seem to get her to understand that I want the dishes completely rinsed clean before she puts them in the dishwasher. I am determined to teach her but it is like talking to a brick wall.

    • Brannon September 8, 2010 at 11:57 am #

      I’ve also tried to explain to my kids that the reason I do things in such specific ways is because I’ve already tried hundreds of alternatives, and I’ve settled on what works. Next up: How to correctly fold a fitted sheet.

  4. Dona September 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    we live parallel lives, my brother. <3

    • Brannon September 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

      That’s good and bad.

  5. Bea September 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Dishwasher? What dishwasher? It is done by hand at my house!!! And perfectly, I might add.

    • Brannon September 10, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

      In your case, you are the dishwasher.

  6. Mom September 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I was going to leave a comment exonerating myself from all responsibility — however, I do not know what a (or an) URL is, and it seems to be required to leave a comment, so I’ll click “submit”, and if you get it, I will be absolved, and, if you don’t, it won’t matter, will it?

    • Brannon September 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

      Actually, you don’t have to include a URL. That means “Universal Resource Locator,” which is nerd talk for website address (i.e., But it’s not required. I need to “clean up” the Submit form anyway, so I’ll try to make that more intuitive, too.

      BTW, you weren’t who I was thinking of when I wrote this.

  7. Cari September 9, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Wanna see me fly off the handle? Come to my house and load all of the silverware facing down. Invariably, the spoons will “spoon” each other and none of them get clean. Dirty spoons.

    • Brannon September 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

      See, that’s a tough one… ‘Cause the flip side of that coin is that then you have to touch the eating surfaces to take them out to put them away. I actually do place them eating surface down, but strategically spread out and leaned to keep them from pressing against each other.

  8. Arly September 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Don’t get me started on this! In my field we have dishwashers that can power a shuttle into orbit, and we still have to rinse all of the food and debris off of the dishes before sending them through. Properly rinsing before you place the dishes in allows for optimal storage and cleanliness at the end of the wash. My wife seems to think that our dishwasher has a magical place it sends all of the pancakes, pasta and milk dried cereal once loaded backwards, upside down and on top of each other. It’s no secret-it lands in the divot of all of the glasses facing down on the top shelf. She’s smokin’ hot so I can over-look all of this.

    • Brannon September 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

      This is so rich, it’s hard to know just where to begin. It made me and Kendra both laugh out loud several times. So let’s just say: Yes. Your wife is lovely, and you are fortunate to have her, pancake remnants notwithstanding. :)

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