Dear Children (both my own and those who might as well be my own based on the deep and abiding spiritual bond you seemed to have formed with my couch),
I’m not entirely sure how the phrase “please clean up the living room” came to be translated into “please pick up two of the ten glasses covering the coffee table and call it good.” Maybe it was my accent. Or maybe it was just a really bad application of Google Translate. In any event, do you really think that the intent of my request was for you to sift through the layers of crap covering my coffee table (and all flat or semi-flat surfaces near it) and only grab those items that could, guaranteed, be associated with your epic Skyrim sojourn in my living room? Or do you maybe think that the intent of my request was to actually get the living room clean. Hmm? I ask merely for information and edification, the same way I might ask a man who collects vintage shoelaces to explain to me what, exactly, his motivation is.
Another question: at what point did clearing off a table require DNA testing? Seriously: I really don’t care whose pizza crust it is that is wedged between the box and the floor, and I have less than zero interest at all in the various ways you can prove to me that it doesn’t belong to you, but rather to your brother. Enough with the timelines and witness statements. People have been convicted of murder with less evidence than you are presenting. Not to mention the fact that in the time it has taken you to explain to me how this pizza crust is yours, while that pizza crust is theirs all the pizza crusts in the known universe could have been picked up and put in the trash. (I know this to be true because I’m pretty sure that at least half the pizza crusts in the known universe are currently within a five foot radius of our PS3 controllers.)
This summer I have come to the conclusion that asking a group of teenagers to clean up the mess they created together is like trying to split a restaurant bill with a group of cheap friends. The arguments and negotiations over who had the nachos vs. who had the calamari at Chili’s have got nothing on the bickering about who, exactly, dropped the cookies on the floor and left them there vs. who subsequently stepped on them and ground them into the carpet. And, unfortunately, both scenarios seem to turn out remarkably the same: in the case of the bill, one person usually ends up putting in far more than their share, and in the case of the living room, one person usually ends up cleaning far more than they should. In both cases, the one person is usually me.
Of course, maybe I should be grateful that you’re trying to get out of cleaning up your mess by blaming it in someone else. At least that tells me that you are aware that there is, in fact, a mess to be dealt with. This is in stark contrast to the way you react when I ask you to clean up your room, which is more along the lines of “What seems to be the problem, Officer?” than “I was just holding that for a friend.” Maybe, though, that’s just because there is someone else available to blame. When it’s your dresser that is covered in spilled blue slushy it’s “not a big deal.” When it’s the coffee table, however, it was your brother that did it, and therefore, a travesty.
At least until he can produce the security footage showing that, in fact, the Exxon Slushy was all on you.