Think Like an Editor blog by Steve Davis and Emilie Davis, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

A lesson in dirty laundry

By · Thursday, May 19th, 2011

The other day, as I began to put a load of laundry into the washing machine, for some inexplicable reason, I did something I have not done in all the years I have owned that washer. I put the clothes down, took a paper towel and reached into the fabric softener cup (in the center of the agitator) and wiped out the gummy mess that had accumulated. Just as I was cleaning up the last spot of it, the cup dislodged from the agitator and dropped about an inch. “Oh, no!”

In a panic, I took a pair of long tweezers and a pair of kitchen tongs and grasped the sides of the cup, trying desperately to pull up the cup and reattach it. My efforts were futile. I could not get the cup up high enough, and there was no way to reattach it. The clothes never got washed that day.

The next day, I sheepishly called the repair service we have used in the past. Here is what the man said: “The cup is made to come off for cleaning. Just tip it toward you and pull. If you still have your manual, it explains it in there.” Ah, there was the rub. I’m pretty sure my face turned red from embarrassment.

Stumbling over my words, I thanked him and explained that I do have the manual and I didn’t think to look at it because I wasn’t even expecting to clean out the cup. I just did it. He laughed, seemingly amused.

Did I learn some valuable lessons:

Be it the weekly laundry or daily journalism, all of these lessons apply. You can be sure I’ll be more careful in the future.

Emilie Davis

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