Monday, May 11, 2009

Formula 409

Yesterday I was bored, so I decided to read the back label of my Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner. I decided that if I were going to read the back of my Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner, I needed a soundtrack to go along with it. Quickly, I became vexed, for I didn't know what the adequate musical accompaniment was to reading the back label of my Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner? Eventually, I settled on Sarah McLachlan's Surfacing Album - I was happy that I made a decision. Once McLachlan's angelic-Canadian voice exuded from my speakers, I began to wonder why I even possessed Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner? Numbers tend to stress me out, so I was surprised I didn't own a spray of Fantastik or Febreeze or some other cleaning product that didn't contain multiple digits in the name. I was wasting time analyzing this, so I convinced myself it must've been my mother who had purchased it for me - numbers don't stress my mother out as much as they do me. The first thing the label said was, "It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling." I couldn't help but notice that the "F" in the word "Federal" was capitalized. This seemed grammatically incorrect, and once again, I got stressed out. I then realized that perhaps the F was capitalized to make a point - that no matter what state I was in, I could conceivably be imprisoned were I to use the Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner in an irresponsible manner (though I wondered if the same held true for Puerto Rico and Guam; or did the citizens of Puerto Rico and Guam have free reign to utilize the Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner in whatever way they chose?). I then began to wonder if anyone in the world had ever been arrested for using Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner incorrectly? And if not, what would happen were I to be the first? Would I be ridiculed or admired for being the Rosa Parks of people being incarcerated for using a cleaning product in a manner other than the way described on the label? I decided I would be ridiculed, and that from now on, I would always use Formula 409 All-purpose Cleaner in a responsible and ethical fashion. The next piece of information to strike me was that on heavily-soiled areas, I was to let the Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner stand for 10 minutes before cleaning. I had not been doing this in the past, and so I began to develop feelings of inadequacy. But something in McLachlan's voice told me to keep going, that everything was going to be alright, that I should wipe the tears, that I should keep reading, and that's just what I did! Unfortunately, my exhilaration was quickly stymied when I read "store out of reach of small children." Until I read those words, I had always stored the Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner in the cabinet below my bathroom sink, i.e. in a place extremely accessible to small children. What was my placement of the Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner saying about me? Was it a symbol of my commitment issues and fear of reproduction? I began to become depressed, and so I went to my fridge and got a beer so I could start drowning my sorrows. As I peered at the beer bottle, I realized that only a few states gave people 5 cents for recycling. I felt stupid for falsely assuming all states gave people 5 cents for recycling, but I couldn't let myself get distracted with this new-found information - that was for a different time and place. I went back to the Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner, and read "refill only with this product." I was obviously dumbfounded and confused by these words. Dumfounded because I had never thought about refilling a cleaning product, and confused because I didn't know how? How was I to refill the spray can without buying another spray can? But then, as if discovering The Flux Capacitor (what makes time travel possible) I realized that they must sell giant containers of Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner at Costco - much like the giant cans of laundry degerant my mother had purchased for me before I moved - good old mom! Till this juncture, my reading of the Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner label had been educational yet melancholy, but now I was invigorated, and my joy was palpable. The next time I was at Costco, I was going to buy a giant container of Fantastik (not Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner, because remember - numbers stress me out). I would then pour the Fantastic into the empty spray can of Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner. This would serve a dual function - not only would I be helping the environment, I would also be pulling one over all the people who believed in their heart of hearts that I possessed Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner, when in actuality, I really possessed Fantastik...I'm such a sneaky devil! Of course, none of these people would be children, because from now on, the spray can will never be accessible to them.

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