62 thoughts on “And Now, Today’s Masterclass on Leaving Passive-Aggressive Notes to One’s Offspring

  1. Honestly, Athena, it doesn’t take much longer to put it on the rack, and it’ll dry out and not get that moldy gross used-towel smell. Or actual mildew, in some places.

    Other train of thought: “She’s not old enough to be fucking! Wait, she’s driving… and has a boyfriend… noooo! Well, I’m sure they’d be safe about it if they’re doin’ it. But those towels FOR SURE should not be left on the floor, ewww.”

    Either way: pick up the towel. She’s neither a small child nor a dudebro.

  2. Which is more effective? A. THE NOTE or B. Posting the note to your blog where a large number of people will see it?

  3. My favorite is when they become lawyers. . .

    “Oh, how was I possibly to know that you wanted me to drag BOTH trash cans back from the curb? Your language is imprecise, sir!”

  4. Which takes longer…writing a passive-aggressive (if funny) cotton ball humorous rant…or picking up the towel yourself? More importantly, which is more satisfying?

  5. Is leaving wet towels on the floor a social custom that’s been carried over to households from hotels, where leaving used towels on the floor is a signal to maids the towels need to be laundered?

  6. Squishy the Sentient Cottonball was last seen screaming “For the love of God, and all that is holy, MY ANUS IS BLEEDING!”…

  7. So it was a collaborative effort? I heartily approve. Very, very important to present a united front, even when your kid is a great kid who seldom needs directional assistance (to put it euphemistically) from the parental units.

    One burning question, though – you’ve described yourself here (recently, even) as having essentially no drawing skills. Who actually drew the image of Squishy? Cuz it’s seriously a great picture.

  8. Great parenting except maybe the language. At what age is it appropriate to say fuck? Interested to know what people think since there will be many who whine about my response

  9. You would think that by now, most parents would basically be aware that this will never end.
    Kids will never pick up their towels. Just replace their dry towels with old dirty wet ones while they are in the shower. HAH

  10. Does Squishy take questions, because I’ve been trying to unplug my ears by putting cotton balls soaked in vegetable oil in them when I sleep. Just wondering if that’s effective or not.

  11. I love it!

    mazarin, I had assumed that the “rabid dingoes” were the Australian branch of Theodore Beale’s lickspittles. But I guess THAT threat would be unconscionable, even as a joke.

  12. Is that an apostle of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? It appears to have been touched by his noodly appendage. ;P

  13. I don’t know… that seems a bit more aggressive-aggressive than passive-aggressive. Just sayin’..

  14. Nah, aggressive-aggressive would be directly calling her by name and saying he was going to personally feed her to the rabid dingos. So this is p-a.

  15. Regrettably, I didn’t get a picture. But for some weeks recently, there was a note taped to the door of the microwave in the break room where I work, which read as follows (I omit the ALL-CAPS block printing in the interests of good Netiquette):

    The next person leaving a mess in the microwave will be folded, spindled, power-washed, defrosted, and fed to the nearest available gaze of raccoons.

    Somewhat to my surprise, this seemed to act as an effective deterrent. OTOH, the day after the note disappeared about a week ago, I found unwiped remnants of a minor explosion in the microwave….

  16. My mom has been swearing since I was a kid. It was unfortunately frequently enough that I didn’t know the difference between Bitch and Poopface. However, my dad has been using swear words as modifiers since I was in junior high (I believe Athena is in high school now?) and the importance he put on the words while making it seem like casual banter always drove me closer to him and helped me understand when he was serious about something without being mean or aggressive about it.

  17. And all I ever did was scatter mushrooms on them. I’ve found that used towels make an excellent mushroom growth medium.

    For some reason the kids were not terribly amused.

    They were lucky, though — towels left on the floor were one of their mother’s (not particularly housebroken) pooch’s favorite places for urination. That only happened once and worked better than all of my intentional behavior modification efforts.

  18. Probably the question now is, given what I’ve seen of your daughter’s personality here on the blog, which is probably not a 100% accurate portrayal, three things might occur: 1) Since she has been reminded in an amusing way then had it glorified on your blog, she will henceforth pick up her wet towels, 2) She will ignore the note and this blog post because, hey, teenager 3) (and if her personality is what I suspect it is, my money is on this), she will view this as something of a challenge, will escalate the issue, quite possibly with hilarious results that will then be documented on the Internet. I await #3 with anticipation.

  19. Clearly, wet towels should only be left on the floor when they are not fucking. Asexual or abstinent wet towels are acceptable.

  20. Passive-aggressive notes are all fine and dandy, but the real deal is to put the offending towel on HER bed…

    Next time, perhaps.

  21. The behaviour you and Kriss are trying to curb is example #42 on why my Chriss and I are sticking to raising canids. Fur balls are easily vacuumed.

  22. Similar problem here a couple of years ago. I just put the wet towels in my daughters bed. That stopped her from leaving them around.

  23. Oh, man, that gives me nightmares…

    I left my wet towel on the bathroom floor exactly once. Once. No more.

    Then my Dad unlocked the door and came in while I was getting dressed after my shower, in his underwear so his hairy gut was on full display, and dumped fifteen wet towels on the bathroom floor one after the other. Slowly. Then he asked me “Are you going to make your Mom pick these up, too?”

    Well, my mom’s the most wonderful person on the planet, so I wasn’t going to say yes to that. And let me tell you, 15 wet towels are HEAVY.

    Lesson learned.

  24. A habit like this doesn’t end when they become adults. 22 years into our relationship and my husband STILL leaves wet towels on the frakking BED after he showers.

  25. Squishy is my new hero.

    My household daughter is older than yours, and yet… the damp damned towels proliferate in her aerie. It’s a wonder she hasn’t developed a ferocious mold problem up there. Maybe Nora the Mold Fairy needs to leave her a note.

  26. Dear Huhdue,

    In the vein of Pinky, I have a story to tell.

    My parents never, ever swore when we kids were growing up. As an adult, I was informed there was a reason for that.

    I was the oldest child, born in 1949 and lived my first years in a nice middle-class Brooklyn neighborhood. This happened about the time I was learning my first few words, so I’m guessing I was probably two years old? (Or maybe 11? Whatever… ) My father was engaged in some manly tool-wielding thing and wielded a hammer into his manly thumb. Words followed. Apparently, I was there to overhear this. Apparently, I was impressed.

    A few days later my mother was wheeling me through the local market when I chose to cheerfully and loudly express myself with, “Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch!”

    She was, of course, delighted that only shortly after I had mastered “Mama” and “Dada” I was uttering entire phrases. Such a wonderful precocious child.

    Not so much.

    It’s possible my parents said “damn” while we were growing up. I’m not even sure of that.

    I have no problem with swearing in front of children who have reached the age of understanding that there are things grown-ups get to do the kids don’t get to do.** No matter how much kids may try to bamboozle you, that is in fact a concept they firmly learn rather early on. Why do grown-ups get to swear when kids don’t? For the same reason that grown-ups get to stay up late, they get to decide what to have for dinner, and they get to drive cars. And kids don’t. Because they’re grown-ups, and they make the rules, and yes, life is unfair, but those ARE the rules.

    Before they comprehend that, though, “free speech” has a distinctly perilous side.

    **(I don’t have a problem with swearing, in general. If you do, there is not a conversation to be had between us, because there really isn’t anything to discuss. You live your way, I live mine.)

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
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  27. I took a shower late last night (actually early this morning) and it would have been sooo much easier to leave the towel on the floor at that hour, but I hung it up and spread it out, while thinking “See, Athena? And my parents never even had to leave cussing cartoons for me!”

    And my friends, that towel is now dry.

  28. I don’t understand leaving wet towels on the floor. I reuse the same towel until it stands by itself several times, and store it on the towel bar between. I don’t even think it would be more convenient to drop it on the floor than to hang it up.

  29. I don’t understand leaving wet towels on the floor. I reuse the same towel until it stands by itself, and store it on the towel bar between. I don’t even think it would be more convenient to drop it on the floor than to hang it up.

    *sage nod* I see that you’re using the glorious College Student Method, Xopher. Why, I myself have been known to reuse the same towel for over three months at a time!

    (I ran out of quarters for the lousy washing machines, and there was an incident with some soap and a bubble explosion)

  30. Ah, if only my friend’s mother and father would have explained that both any water on the floor would evaporate and the bath mat would dry faster hanging up so air could circulate around it, perhaps I wouldn’t have to pick up the bath mats after every. single. one. of his showers. He hangs his body towel & washcloth up, so the bath mat thing boggles the mind. Sadly, he would never have responded at all positively well to any attempt, humorous or otherwise, to change his behavior, but that’s another thing entirely.

    I would love to see more of Squishy and his (or her’s) wisdom – more sayings that could go on shirts, magnets, bumperstickers even – to pass on behavior tips or whatever to those who could benefit from such! The world will thank you – or at least some of the world will, I’m sure. :-)

  31. Regarding Ctein’s story, I think every parent has one like that. When my older daughter was about 2 I was unloading groceries and dropped a can of something on my (bare) foot. At which point I swore loudly.

    For several days after that, Julie would toddle around the apartment dropping things (her stuffed zebra, a ball of paper, a spork) and say “O fut, o fut, o fut.” I cleaned up my act. For a while.

  32. @madeleinerobins – you can’t win with kids though. My language was impeccable for the first few years, but my toddler still developed this very unfortunately way of pronouncing the word ‘fork’. I gave up after that.

  33. Dear “Floored…” and Xopher,

    Personally, I don’t see why a towel that I’m using just about exclusively to dry CLEAN water off of my WASHED hands or body or face needs to be laundered terribly often. I do it every few weeks, when there’s room in a load of wash I’m doing, but otherwise? Just what am I supposed to be cleaning out of the towel?!

    A very long way of saying, “what you guys said.”

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
    ======================================

  34. I am skeptical that any typical humans are actually washing themselves well enough that the towel is clean after being vigorously rubbed against their skin. Yes, you’re much cleaner than you were when you got in the shower. That in no way means that towel isn’t crawling with bacteria.

    That’s not to say that it’s horrible to reuse a few times, I just object to the “clean body” argument. ;)

    I wash my towels about once a week, FWIW.

  35. Athena is lucky. She gets a cute drawing. My Pop (former Marine, which means he never really stopped) would have picked up those wet towels and plopped them on my bed, for me to find after school.

    Ah, good times.

  36. Dear Rain,

    “…vigorously rubbed…” ???

    You brute.

    My sensitive artist’s skin is delicately patted dry and swaddled in fluffiness.

    pax / Ctein

  37. “Personally, I don’t see why a towel that I’m using just about exclusively to dry CLEAN water off of my WASHED hands or body or face needs to be laundered terribly often.” Some tiny bits of CLEAN skin accumulate with each drying session. Skin flakes plus damp environment (towel and general bathroom humidity) = food for peripatetic bacteria, which can make things icky feeling and smelly. Depending on your personal degree of flakiness and your general sensitivity to such things, you might need to wash the towels weekly or bi-weekly, but I think most of us would find that once a month is not workable.

  38. We instituted fines (HKD 5 = ~ USD 0.70) for wet towels left on floor & that took care of the problem after one or two levies.

  39. I’m with Ctein. I blot, not rub. And I don’t store my towel in the humid bathroom. It lives on a hook in the bedroom which is where I am when I remove it in preparation for the lotioning and dressing part of the morning. So a towel lasts well more than two weeks.

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