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The Poker Game of Laundry: I Fold

Whenever someone asks me what it’s like to have so many young children, I always say the same thing: our life is dense with transactions. My poor wife handles the majority of them, especially during the week.

But I’m no slouch, as evidenced by my constant willingness to help out in any number of departments, laundry being chief among them. Only I’m not allowed to actually do the laundry. The vast array of pinkish t-shirts and socks I brought into my marriage, more than enough to earn me a lifetime ban on any such attempt.

But I can still dry with the best of them. And folding? I’m a wizard, y’all. Or so I always thought, until I recently caught Caroline refolding laundry that I’d already folded. And maybe I was wearing my sensitive panties, but it kinda hurt, almost like she was intentionally putting the FU in Folding laUndry.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m Folding laUndry.”

“But I already folded it.”

She paused for a moment and considered me with eyes that just then realized she’d been busted.

An awkward silence.

“Here’s the deal, honey,” she finally said in her breaking-it-gently voice. “I so appreciate that you fold the laundry. It’s just…”

Another pause.

“It’s just what?”

“You don’t do it right.”

Air. Me. Exits.

I mean, seriously, I understand, support even, my ban from washing. Our clothes are better off because of it. Our brights, brighter. Our whites, whiter. And what’s more, our colors no longer morph between the infinite choices allowed them within their ROY-G-BIV parameters, but instead remain steadfast to their original hue. So I’m good with the no-washing part.

But don’t you tell me I can’t fold, dammit. Because I can.

“Do you always refold my folding?”

“Don’t be silly, honey. Of course I don’t always refold your folding.”

Moral victories, y’all. Get ‘em, get ‘em, get ‘em.

“Just almost always.”

Total bullsh!t, anyway, these moral victories are.

“But why?” I said.

“Because you do it wrong.”

“But I climbed this mountain long ago, having mastered the art under a very formidable mentor.”

“I assume you’re talking about that dental-hygienist woman you once dated?” Caroline said as she refolded a towel.

“Indeed, I am.”

“I hate to break it to you, honey, but the dental hygienist didn’t know BOO about folding.”

“Say what you will, but the dental hygienist had quite a domestic flair about her.”

“Maybe, but she sure didn’t know how to fold. Do you want to learn the real way?”

I did. And here’s how it went down.

We started with one of the boys’ shirts, and I went first, doing the little number I always do, namely grabbing the shirt by the shoulders, then flipping the sleeves and sides back with my pinkies, laying the shirt gently on the table and folding it in half, then folding in half again, and voila:

“Wrong,” Caroline said, promptly unfolding the shirt and folding it longways, then folding it in half as I had done, but only once, carefully tucking the sleeves within the crease of said fold. “That’s how it’s done,” she said motioning to the finished product:

I pointed out that her fold wasn’t as efficient as my fold, at least from a drawer-maximizing standpoint, as my shirts would take up less space. She countered with nonsense about drawer dimensions and me being full of something or another.

When in Rome, I figured, as I attempted to duplicate her fold. “Well?” I asked, pointing to this:

“Close,” she said. “But you did it backwards.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

Wrong. Or so I gathered when she refolded it her way. “Let’s move on to pants,” Caroline said as she handed me a pair of Jack’s jeans.

I folded them in half longways, then folded them from bottom to top once. Ordinarily, I would have folded from bottom to top again, but I gathered the shirts had set a precedent, so my final result looked like this:

Caroline shook her head. “You folded toward the fly. You’re supposed to fold toward the seat, then fold in half, like this:”

So I tried again and came up with this:

Caroline again shook her head.

“What the hell is wrong with that? It’s exactly the way you folded it.” (Go up and look, y’all. Seriously.)

“You’ve got the fly on the right. The fly is supposed to go on the left.”

“You’re making this sh!t up,” I said.

“Do you want to learn how to fold or not?”

“I do, but what if I were dyslexic? Hmm? I’m pretty sure there’s a discrimination suit in here somewhere.”

“Relax, honey. Try these,” she said, tossing me a pair of Sam’s dress pants. I won’t bother you with another series of pictures, but God as my witness, I folded them the exact right way, toward the seat, then in half, from bottom to top, with the fly on the left.

“Oooh. Close, dear, but unlike jeans, the dress pants do get folded in half again from bottom to top because I keep them in their cabinet and there’s not as much room as in their drawers.”

I was under the impression there’d be no math.

“That’s it,” I said, storming out of the room.

“Where are you going?”

“To take out the f$%#ing trash. I’m pretty sure I can handle that.”

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