It’s come to a point in my house where my oldest son either needs to learn to do his own laundry, or I’m going to beat him with the ironing board.

When I informed him of this fact, he suggested that I just beat him and get it over with so he can go back to playing his Xbox.

However, violence is never the solution, unless it’s on TV, in the movies or in international relations. As painful as it is for all of us, the boy has to learn to do his own laundry.

Because here’s the thing, at some point in the future, he’s going to have to move out. I’ve marked a date distant in the future for his departure —August 2018. 

I want all of my children to eventually move out when I can no longer claim them as dependents on my income tax. 

It’s not that I won’t miss them, but let’s face facts here — those tax credits buy a lot of parental love. 

Besides, knowing how to do the laundry is a basic skill people need in order to survive, along with knowing the WiFi password, making sandwiches and breathing. 

I’m a strong believer in helping with the laundry. My wife, however, gets a scared look on her face anytime I touch it. 

This is because she knew me in college … when I did my own laundry. You see, back then all of my clothes were the same color of faded gray speckled with bleach spots. 

Fortunately since that time I’ve learned you don’t wash black pants, white shirts, red socks, dirty work boots and carwash rags in the same load.

That’s not even what scares her. 

Anytime I try to be helpful, my wife ends up missing stuff. There are shirts that I’ve dutifully folded and put away that have been missing for years. 

Her closet is basically empty due to the four times I’ve helped with laundry in the past 22 years. I think she only has three pairs of socks due to my ineptitude. 

I have no idea where her clothes have gone … it’s like they get sucked into a laundry vortex never to return. 

Part of my desire for my children to learn to do the laundry is born of the fear they will grow up and be as incompetent at it as I am. 

So the other night I was pleasantly surprised to find my son had started a load. Hooray for progress! 

Except then he promptly went to bed and the laundry was promptly forgotten … until 11:30 p.m.

That’s when my wife found the washer stuffed full of sopping wet jackets, towels, jeans, underwear and a single sock. 

I don’t think he could have crammed more stuff in there without the assistance of a hydraulic press. 

Also, somehow he found a setting on the washer that didn’t spin the clothes when the rinse cycle was complete. 

The result was laundry that was wetter than the ocean. 

I had no idea the washer even had a “keep stuff as soggy as possible” setting, much less how the boy found it, or why he would use it. 

After much pushing of buttons, I found the “spin the clothes because your son didn’t” setting. 

Then we were finally able to put them in the dryer at a quarter to midnight. You know, because the boy doing his own laundry is supposed to help us not worry about it.

Oh well, you have to take these things a step at a time. I have no doubt he will learn to do his laundry in a way that doesn’t make his parent furious at him.

Once he does, we can work together to figure out the ironing board, which I’m told is not exclusively used for beating people. 

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