Mudlark No. 44 (2011)


The kitchen sponge began its commercial life supremely asceptic, infused with anti-bacterial detergent and sealed in plastic. It spent its first months in the home of a meticulous man who ran it through the dishwasher every evening.

However, one day this man tripped over his shadow, suffered several fractures, and had to be waited on by a hired woman who routinely left the sponge floating in a puddle of grayish dishwater aswarm with bits of cabbage and gristle.

This situation created a crisis for the sponge, since it comprehended for the first time not only that its very presence did not automatically neutralize any environmental impurities, but also that its essence could—and had—become contaminated.

Filthy sponge, filthy sponge, it thought, straining to understand, but after several weeks of meditation, just as it was about to resolve forever the question of why the innocent suffer, the man became ambulatory enough to run the dishwasher, and the sponge’s intricate theodicies were dissolved by the sensual bliss of being clean once more.

Now the sponge was as happy as it had ever been—perhaps even more so!—and isn’t it a blessing that certain balances in the world are no less easily restored than they are disturbed?

Claire Bateman | Mudlark No. 44 (2011)
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