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BY
JOSH ABRAHAM

Thursday, July 24, 2003



Swiffer: itís a stick, much like a broomstick, except at the business end, where youíd expect to see a broom or mop or something with pincers, thereís just this empty non-thing that doesnít do anything until you wrap it with a rag that resembles a thick sheet of fabric softener. The stick itself is not so amazing. Itís just your standard pole: long, skinny, sturdy, good for poking things. The rag, however, is bewitched with dark magic causing dirt to cling to it. Dirt cannot escape the force of the enchanted rag. Dirt cannot ignore the allure of its siren song. It clings to it like a newborn sloth to its motherís fur. It does not let go. You donít even have to put the rag directly on the floor. You can hover it a gasp above the floor and the dirt will leap into the air.

Itís freaking magical. Iíve read some of the Bible, Iíve learned some hefty physics, Iíve seen eclipses and volcanoes and Niagara Falls and earthquakes Ė nothing flabbergasts me as much as this enchanted rag. It looks so innocent: itís soft and cuddly and smells nice. Thereís no moving parts, no circuits, no wires, no magnets. Yet this thing effortlessly lifts dirt against gravityís will without even breaking a sweat. I donít really know how static electricity works, only that if you rub a balloon on your head, it sticks to the wall (the balloon, not your head; though I bet your head would stick as well). This is a pretty piss-poor parlor trick, but still Iíll admit itís at least something. (Now your head stuck the wall -- that would be cool.) The Swiffer seems to root its physics-defying might in something along the same principles, I guess, only it somehow harnesses that raw energy and magnifies it a thousand-fold. Perhaps one of those supercolliding superconductors is used in the Swiffer factory. Or, more likely, the One Ring to Rule Them All. All I know is I've seen nothing on this Earth more riveting than dirt removing itself from my kitchen floor.

Todayís kids, with their MTV-reduced attention spans and their Sega-honed coŲrdinatation are probably unimpressed by the magic of the Swiffer. If, however, you took a Swiffer along in your time machine, you could materialize in virtually any period from the birth of monotheism in the Fertile Crescent to the outbreak of hippies in the 1960s, and the surrounding old-timey people would hail you a god when you swept their huts or igloos or shanties free of dust and grime. If you took a Dustbuster with you, you'd only impress older civilizations with your fraudulent wizardry for as long as the Dustbuster could retain its charge. After that, you're up a creek without a paddle. Because ya can't plug in the recharging cradle in old-timey times! (Even in modern-day Europe, you can't plug that thing in! Foreigners are so damn primitive.) And you'd be exalted all the more because in old-timey times, everything was caked with soot and ash. I know this because Iíve seen Braveheart and Gladiator and every single Sergio Leone film on DVD, where you can really see the dirt crystal-clear. Yech. Iím so happy I live in 2003. I couldnít take all the filth and muck. Also, when it gets hot in the summers Iím really upset if Iím not in the presence of air conditioning. Iíd be so miserable back in olden times of yore. Even if I were a duke or a feudal lord or something, with serving wenches and spices from faraway lands available upon request, I still couldnít manage the heat and the dirt and the cholera. Cholera really sucks.

Go Swiffer!




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