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Hello, I’m Vacuum, and this is my master class.

(Jazzy xylophone interlude)

Lesson 7: Time to Suck

ON THE SEVENTH DAY, THE VACUUM WAS SUMMONED! That’s appropriate since we end up getting used only one day a week, IF THAT!

The dance begins…

The first moments of utilization feels like honeymoon sex! I mean, you hope it’ll be like sex. It’s more like sex-scheduled-by-appointment, wedged between scrubbing the toilet and picking up groceries. At least it’s still sex, right?

Every floor is your mistress. Wood feels like you’re hovering above the ground. Tiles are hardcore and rugged, with slightly different textures and the annoying grout divots that obviously don’t work as reverse-speed bumps.

Carpet is where things start to get a little more gnarly. It’s war out there. That’s your biggest, bestest workout. Shit gets wedged in there like soldiers pinned-down in the jungle, and you’re the Blackhawk helicopter swarming in on a critical Search and Rescue mission. Only difference is you don’t give a shit if the stuff you pick up lives or dies. This is an extraction, not a high school reunion.

Today’s mission: confetti.

Thanks to gravity, everything falls. No one has immunity from dropping this and that on the floor. Today’s case study involves a 5 year-old who brought party favors back from some twerp’s birthday. He popped two of them open in the living room, sending colorful shredded paper everywhere, before running off.

Here I come to save the day!

There’s a symbiotic connection between floor and vacuum. The two coalesce into a productive working relationship that we live for day-in and day-out. The floor needs a vacuum for its continued good health, and vacuums need the floor to provide a foundation, a surface, a center for our purpose in life.

In other words, the floor giveth, and the vacuum taketh.

In this case, the shag carpet has been festooned with colorful paper, thrown around by a sugar-bolstered child who couldn’t care less what happens next. Shmendrick cracked the egg open and now the pulpy innards are everywhere. Jimmy, where’s my superhero theme?

(Short brass fanfare)

Warning: the carpet is going to think it’s a salon day. It may try to seduce you with moans of pleasure as you seemingly throttle every chemically-died strand. Don’t listen to the rug. Stay focused on the job. The moment you and the carpet start doing other things, you’ve fallen into the Siren’s trap, and you’ll be lost at sea forever. Stay on target!

You’ll attack the paper shrapnel aggressively, enthusiastically, but don’t let them see you smile. Keep it professional. All that shredded crap is going to want to hug you, like you’re the messiah. They’ll cling to your inner hood like a grateful leper, or get wrapped in your bristle rolls smothered by months of hippie hair and other annoying detritus. Keep moving, keep sucking.

No one will tell you this next part…

Afterwards, you’ll need something to cleanse the palette. See if you can suggest to your operator to head to the kitchen to take a swipe at some breakfast cereal underneath the front of the dishwasher, or some fallen macaroni pieces in the pantry. This hard, crunchy stuff is good for your choppers, good for your soul, and good for the world.

There may be times when you feel a little neglected, and think what you do is unimportant.  That no matter how hard you work, your work is never done. Fear not, my friends. A week will whip by and lo and behold,  there will be a new layer of dust, more corn chip crumbs, and a metric crap-ton of debris in every corner to suck up. Don’t get sucked into that kind of negative thinking. We perform a vital service, and they need us. Otherwise, we get replaced by a cheap broom and dustpan set, and that bullshit is insulting!

The operators can’t do what they want to do unless we do what we want to do first. When we suck for them, nothing else in their low-level lives will suck. If we don’t suck up their filthy remnants, it’ll become an angrier world out there than it already is. Naked feet will step on coarse-edged objects, either crushing them down to a fine powder, or creating more shrapnel to find later.

…and that’ll suck.

Jay Heltzer

Jay Heltzer writes attention-challenged fiction, plays bass trombone, digs sloppy fountain pen sketches, and is in pursuit of the perfect cheeseburger.

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