By contributing writer Lee Camp

There is an extremely pressing situation affecting our lives right now. Hundreds have died senselessly or been seriously injured, and children run in fear when confronted with the atrocities of which I am about to speak. That’s right, I’m referring to the overall nastiness that has enveloped my apartment like a cup of thick New England clam chowder slowly drowning a struggling fly. My roommates and I, like the fly, have worked endlessly to fight off the deluge of grime and clam chowder that has soaked our wings and entangled our spiny legs until we’ve choked on chunky bits of clam. (I lost sight of this analogy long ago, so let’s move on and never again speak of what just transpired.)

However, I must say that my apartmentmates and I are a responsible group of guys who clean our apartment every Sunday. Maybe that’s not true, but we definitely clean it at least once a month. Alright, the truth is we haven’t technically “cleaned” the apartment yet this year, and I believe I used to have five roommates but one is now buried somewhere under old copies of Victoria’s Secret and empty boxes of Domino’s pizza.

The girls that live below us have a system for cleaning up: they divide up areas of the apartment to clean each week. However, I think our system of not cleaning at all is far
superior because the girls are constantly getting into arguments over chores, while we guys have never once fought about it.

Sign #21 of a Dirty Apartment:
“Oh sweet, you guys cleaned up in here! I call first shower!”

Dave: Hey Matt, are those your nasty plates stacked on the couch?
Matt: Yep.
Dave: Okay, fair enough.

A bunch of guys living in an apartment together is really just a battle to see who can clean up the least without dying of an infectious disease. We’re each wondering, “Who’s gonna cave first?” Instead of cleaning up, we find ways to live in peaceful coexistence with the nastiness. If my feet start to stick to the kitchen floor, I wear shoes. If sewer rats set up camp in the pantry, we make friends with them and sometimes they help pay for groceries.

The reason each guy won’t crack and clean something up is because if he does, he permanently becomes “the guy who cleans.” From then on he’ll be expected to clean. Even if one guy spills motor oil all over the kitchen table, that guy will think, “Forget about it—Tony will clean that up. He always does.” This will be the other guys’ thinking even if Tony is the nastiest man alive and hasn’t bathed for three years. Just because Tony took out the garbage that first time, he’s now “the guy who cleans.”

There are essentially four main problem areas in my apartment that need desperate attention.

1. The Trash Can/ Kitchen Area
2. The Bathroom
3. The Common Room
4. The Bathroom
5. My Roommate

In my apartment we have an industrial size trash can that allows us to only have to empty the trash once a week. This does not change the fact that we empty the trash once a month. The trash tends to pile up until it begins consuming visitors to our apartment. Usually after there have been many fatalities, I come back to find that the trash is gone. The trash isn’t gone because one of us took it out; it’s because the trash becomes repulsed by the living conditions and goes to reside somewhere cleaner, such as a public dumpster.

Furthermore, the carpet in our common room has not been vacuumed in the traditional sense since MC Hammer had a career. For us “cleaning the carpet” entails kicking the larger chunks of food under the couch. The good thing about it is that if we’re trapped in our apartment during some freak accident, we’ll have at least a two month supply of food ground into the carpet. Our technique for cleaning dishes, on the other hand, is to leave them at various locations around the room and hope that eventually they’ll get together and take a group bath.

Now on to the bathroom. To put it simply our bathroom could easily be used as a torture chamber to force enemy spies to reveal their secrets. If spies were locked in our bathroom, we would hear constant screams of, “The horrid stench is burning my nostrils,” and, “I just stepped on something squishy yet crusty!” Come to think of it, I find myself yelling that every morning.

I’ve also recently realized that our bathroom is growing hair. I don’t know why or how, but our bathroom could be the spokesperson for Rogaine. We’ve basically stopped putting a bathmat down because the tile floor has grown its own. Besides, the formerly white bathmat has hardened into a solid brown slate anyway.

I could go on longer, but something under my desk is biting at my ankles. If it's the same thing that's been carrying on a symbiotic relationship with my roommate the past month, I'm definitely screwed.