COLUMN: Laundry depletes quarters, adds havoc

I once learned that when a bird wants its babies to leave the nest, it just pushes them out. When my mom pushed me out of my metaphoric "nest," she did not push me out empty-handed. No siree. She gave me a T-shirt first.

This is not just any T-shirt, mind you. This is a bright orange T-shirt. On the front is a picture of Chester Cheetah, the Cheetos mascot, perched happily atop the white words "Dangerously Cheesy." She explained this T-shirt would serve the purpose of, and this is a direct quote, "warning people, before they meet me, about my disturbing personality" and, this I derived on my own, making me the biggest goober on campus and possibly the planet. I loved it and immediately put it on.

What had not crossed my mind is that I would, at some point, have to wash this "Dangerously Cheesy" shirt, as it would eventually stand upright on its own and possibly attack my visitors, roommate, other clothing, etc. So, I did what any normal college student would do. I paid someone to do my rapidly mutating laundry for me.

Seriously, I visited the fine laundry facilities on the fourth floor of Schmidt/Wilson. These consist of one washer and one dryer, each with enough buttons to be mistaken for an alien spacecraft or an extraordinarily large television remote control. These buttons have words printed on them, such as "Perm Press," "Delicates," "Tumble No Heat," "Start," "Stop," "Rewind," and "Light Speed."

Luckily, the mystical button settings that make one's clothes come out of the dryer in much the same state as they were before going into the washer, except (hopefully) cleaner, had been set by the last user of these fine facilities. I had begun to think that a divine power had granted mercy upon my pathetic state and had taken a hand in making some aspect of dorm life convenient. (I later learned that "convenient dorm life" is an oxymoron.) Then I remembered, "Oh. I need quarters."

Here's a quick, fun fact from The Everything College Survival Book: 419 million loads of laundry are done each week by millions of people. This means that, if all washers and dryers operated solely on quarter-power (meaning, of course, that all laundry services cost $1.25 per load -- that's five quarters), then the world's weekly laundry would cost $523,750,000 (just enough to pay Tom Cruise). This dollar amount would make for a grand total of (drum roll, please) 2,618,750,000 quarters.

I know what you're probably thinking. "Wow! Excellent math skills for a journalism major!"

But really, that is one heck of a lot of quarters. This is a worldwide concern that must be brought to media attention. This many quarters being added to the world's washers and dryers every week can and will result in extreme catastrophe and havoc. (Granted, not all of the world's laundry is done by coin-operated Millennium Falcon-like contraptions; however, I firmly believe that 382 million of the aforementioned weekly loads of laundry are done by Schmidt/Wilson alone.)

For example, Great Britain (assuming they started using quarters instead of their coined currency equivalents: the pence, the tuppence, and the imnotwearinganypence) could sink into the Atlantic due to the strain on the Earth's crust from quarter weight, which would in turn take away from the Pac-Man quarter supply of American arcade-goers everywhere. See? This is just mass hysteria waiting to happen.

Sadly, I have now forgotten my original point. I hope you will, however, on your next laundry day, take the proper precautions to contribute to a sinkage-free world.

Just pay someone else to do your laundry.

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