Friday, April 6, 2007

When Mite Makes Fright

“Do you realize you’re breathing this in?” The salesman showed me a picture of a dust mite blown up to 10,000 times its normal size. It turns out dust mites look like evil alien spiders.

“Dust mites feed off dead skin cells,” he explained. “And because they eat, I don’t have to tell you what they leave behind.”

At this exact moment I almost caved and bought the $1700 vacuum cleaner, unable to bear the thought of my family breathing in millions of tiny insects and particles of insect poop and insect toilet paper.

We had invited this man, named Chuck (why do all the sleazy people have to be named Chuck?), into our home to clean our carpet for free. Once we went over it with our plain-old $80 Eureka, he lifted about 71 pounds of dirt out of the floor with his NASA-type industrial monster sucking machine.

Then he used it on the bed. Eeeew. It made me want to start sleeping upright.

Fortunately, I realized that both my wife and I had grown up breathing insect poop, as did our parents and grandparents, with no ill impact on our health. Breathing insect poop is, and always has been, the American Way. If a cheap, $80 vacuum was good enough for Abe Lincoln, it’s good enough for us.

Besides, the main source of filth in our house is not dead skin cells, it’s dog hair. Our dogs shed pounds of fur at random moments throughout the year, as if their bodies anticipate spring every time the furnace kicks on.

Our current vacuum does a marvelous job picking up dog hair, even when we don’t use it directly on the dogs. It also does fine with the other primary sources of filth in our house: glitter, bits of food, chewed-up diapers, and the television (ba-dum-CHING).

When I pointed all this out to Chuck, and told him that I would be happy continuing to pretend that dust mites do not exist, he knew I had beaten him. He needed a way to link bug excrement with AIDS or syphilis or giant cancerous goiters, and he did not have one.

I said, thanks for stopping by to remove dirt from our carpet and from the earth under our house, but no sale. We just want our floors to look clean, and we can achieve that with our current vacuum.

How silly of me to think I could get rid of a salesman that easily. Over the next 90 minutes I tried a myriad of other lines, including:

- We need the money to pay for my emergency armpit gland surgery.

- Oh my God, the house is on fire!

- My new anti-gravity invention will soon make floors obsolete.

- We don’t have the money.

We eventually got him to leave by pointing out the house across the street, which is about four times the size of ours. Their SUV has more carpeting than our entire living room.

We waved goodbye to Chuck. Except for the mornings when I wake up with that icky taste in my mouth, I haven’t thought about dust mites since.

1 comment:

Woman with kids said...

Oh, um, ew. Just ew. Must go home and vacuum the carpet. And beds. And my tongue.