(This classic Dave Barry column was originally published Aug. 11, 2002.)
Today we present: Laundry Tips for Guys.
Many guys have trouble with laundry, because of the technical complexity involved. Even a very ''high-tech'' guy, a guy who can build a working nuclear submarine using only staples, is reluctant to attempt to do laundry, because there are so many variables: You have your lights and your darks, of course, but you also have your stripes, some of which could be delicates, or even hand-washables, not to mention your bleach and your fabric softener, and of course all your washer/dryer options:
Do you want warm wash and cold rinse? Hot wash and warm rinse? Wet rinse and dry wash? And what about ''static cling''?
This is why laundry has baffled top guy minds for decades. Albert Einstein was working on this problem right up until his death. His last words were: ''OK, say a shirt is yellow, which is a LIGHT color, but it's a DARK yellow, does that mean ... ack'' (thud).
It is this technical complexity -- not laziness! -- that keeps guys from doing the household laundry. We worry that if we get just one variable wrong, we will find ourselves facing a wrathful spouse, who is holding up a garment that was once a valued brassiere of normal dimensions, but is now suitable only as a sun hat for a small, two-headed squirrel.
This is why guys everywhere will be grateful for an excellent laundry tip sent in by Bob Rundquist of Northhampton, Mass. Bob's tip can be summarized in three words: ''Buy more underpants.''
As Bob explains in his letter: ''My wife and I share housework on a random basis. For instance, sometimes she does laundry, sometimes I do. I figured out that laundry gets done when one of us is out of underwear. So I bought six new pairs of underpants. Now my stack never runs out before my wife does the laundry.''
Somewhere in Physicist Heaven, Albert Einstein is smacking himself on the forehead.
Bob's only concern is that his wife will find out, which could result in ``a nuclear war of underpants purchases.''
This leads us to a related laundry tip for guys, sent in by a Wisconsin woman who asks that we identify her only as Alice. Alice states that her husband, Bob, came home one day complaining that he lost his office keys and had been looking for them all day.
''While standing in the kitchen telling me his problem,'' Alice relates, ``he started scratching his posterior -- and finally noticed something was in there. Now bear in mind he had been sitting at his desk all afternoon and drove an hour to get home and is first noticing this now.''
So, reports Alice, Bob felt around inside his underpants, and guess what he found? Correct: A small, two-headed squirrel.
No, he found his office keys. ''He's a government employee,'' observes Alice.
So our second Household Hint for Guys is: Before you put your underpants into the laundry for somebody else to launder, it's a good idea to check them, as well as your general buttular region, for any items you may have misplaced. Especially you government employees! This could be what has happened to all those millions of missing taxpayer dollars that have somehow fallen through the cracks!
Our third laundry-related Household Hint for Guys is based on a story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, sent in by many alert readers, about an incident several years ago in Chippewa Falls, Wis. What happened was, a man became angry at his washing machine, which wasn't working right. Following the recommended procedure in the Guy Book of Troubleshooting, he pushed it down a flight of stairs. Incredibly, this did not solve the problem. So he shot the washer five times with a .25-caliber revolver.
We know what you're thinking. You're thinking: ''What a MORON! Bullets that small are only going to annoy a major appliance, possibly causing it to go berserk and threaten innocent people!'' We ourselves have seen a washing machine, with no provocation, shake its way violently halfway across a room.
Fortunately, the Chippewa Falls washer did not attack. The man was arrested and ended up on probation after pleading guilty to shooting a gun within 100 yards of a building. So our third laundry tip for guys is: Before shooting your washer, always check around for buildings!
There you have it, guys! Good luck, and good laundering!
NOTE TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: You can keep those dollars.
(c) Dave Barry