HOLLENBECK: When a mop is not a mop, or cleaning a floor with imagination

I look forward to a serious mopping project with about the same degree of enthusiasm I reserve for surgery sans anesthesia or being rolled buck naked on a gurney around the courthouse square.
Domestic chores in general are not the sort of thing that get me revved up, but eventually as they say in the commune, someone has to take out the garbage.
And so it goes with mopping at our house. The time comes when it has to be done.
Even before my spouse became disabled, he had little enthusiasm for domestic chores. So, the two of us are immediately intrigued anytime we hear about any sort of revolutionary new method that makes a household task easier.
As far as mopping methods go, my personal preference would be a handsome genie I could pop out of a bottle any time the floor needs attention and sic him onto the dirt. But, alas, genies aren’t in abundance these days, so through the years we’ve left ourselves open to explore other options.
A perfect example is the incident that occurred about five years ago when Ed came upon the Grab It Go Mop, the “in” item for modern-day moppers, the advertisers claimed.
This was a mop in which the cleaning agent was poured into the mop itself and you were to push on a little lever-like device to release the substance. (Similar to todays Swiffer.)
There was no rinsing out the nasty mop — one of the nastiest of drudgeries — because the mop came with disposable cloths that were attached to the spongy part. When a cloth became soiled, you would just dispose of it and grab another one — get it? “Grab It” — and mop away.
“This sounds like the perfect mop for us,” Ed boasted at the time. He was proud for being on top of the latest home gadget.
Because I have a bad back, mopping chores that require a lot of bearing-down-and-dirty scrubbing don’t do a lot for my general health. This truly sounded like the ideal mop for me.
On a particular day, I had psyched myself up to tackle the vinyl floors that hadn’t had as much as what my mother used to call a lick and a promise when she didn’t give a job 200 percent of her chase-away-every-speck-of-dirt style of cleaning. Truth be told, these floors had barely been swept with a glance.
A word of explanation: The Grab It Go Mop came in a cardboard box and the instructions on the outside told you that it would need some assembly. (The first warning we should have paid attention to, but didn’t.)
Ed volunteered to be the assembler of such mop.
While I was cleaning out a kitchen cabinet — I was in an ultra-Suzy Homemaker mode on this particular day — he opened the box to begin the assembly process.
The first thing that alerted me to a possible problem was his expression. He was puzzled. This much was obvious.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“Well, I just don’t know what this is,” he answered as he pulled out two long, clear plastic, sleeve-like sacks containing colored disk-like objects that resembled coasters.
The next thing he took out was a videotape.
“What’s the video for?” I asked.
“I have absolutely no idea,” he said.
“Well, maybe those little things in the sack are the cloths and you have to unfold them to use them,” I said, seriously taxing my imagination to come up with this wild conjecture.
Ed looked even more perplexed.
“Well, I don’t know what these things in the sack are, but there’s an even bigger problem,” he said.
“And that would be?”
“There’s no mop,” he replied.
His expression was blank. Deadpan, as it were.
“Oh, come on, Ed,” I said. “There’s got to be a mop in there.”
“Well, if it’s here, it’s invisible.”
“That means we’ve got to take it back to the store,” I answered. “I’ll do it.”
Before I took off for Wally World, we examined the contents of the mop box that had no mop. And let me add that the cardboard container had not been opened before Ed bought it. Its vacuum seal was intact.
Investigation revealed that we had been sold the promotional kit that included a demo video and 100 Grab It Go Mop buttons for the salespeople to wear to promote the sensational new product. That’s what the little saucer-like things were in the two sacks.
Apparently, you don’t need a mop to show others how to use one.
I guess it would be comparable to teaching someone how to drive minus the car.
Go figure.
Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier. lyndahol@yahoo.com