It’s the dryer’s fault


Most everyone in this fair county has asked this question, or thought it, at one time or another. It’s a question that bridges all racial, ethnic, or political divides — perplexing everyone equally.

I eat right, exercise, and drink plenty of water. How did by clothes get so tight?

This is the very question I asked The Wife after trying to pull on a tee-shirt that fit just the week prior. The obvious answer would be that, somehow, I’d gained a bunch of weight in the last seven days.


Now, I do like a good chicken biscuit with gravy in the morning, but the shirt was so tight it could hardly fit over my head. And even though Down the Street Bully Brad called me a fat head many times back on Flamingo Street, I really don’t have a fat head.

Frustrated with the shirt’s snugness, my largeness, or both, I was still struggling to remove it when The Wife walked into the bedroom, “You alright? Looks like you’re losing a fight over there.”

As she helped me peel the shirt off, I resigned myself to the fact that there was a little bit more of me now than I really wanted. As always, The Wife knew exactly what to say to make me feel better.

“It’s not your fault. Blame it on the dryer. Happens to me all the time.”

I knew she was just joking, trying to make me feel better. But as I put on another shirt a size larger, I thought, What if she’s right? If the dryer is truly the blame for shrinking all my clothes, then what else could we blame on it? The question has answers that you wouldn’t expect.

The missing sock. You’d think, after doing laundry for the last fifty-plus years, I’d have a good answer to where all those missing dryer socks have gone. At first, I blamed myself for sloppiness when it came to folding laundry, guessing I’d dropped a sock or two somewhere between the dryer and the bedroom. Nope.

When we first got our dog, I then blamed the missing socks on him. Turns out I was wrong. Years later when The Wife and I adopted two cats, I blamed the missing socks on the mischievous pair — I was once again wrong.

After never finding but one of the many missing socks lost over the years, now I know why — it was always the dryer’s fault.

Power bills and the dryer industry. For the last two months, our power bills have been sky high, but it has nothing to do with trying to keep the house cool in ninety-plus temperatures. Seems that the vent to the outside was clogged so the dryer didn’t dry as well and had to run much longer. This made for hefty power bills.

If left clogged, the dryer will eventually break down, which ours did. What caused the blockage? You guessed it — one of those missing socks. We had to go out and buy a new dryer. I think the power company and dryer industry are in cahoots.

Warm hard cash. Ever feel you’re a little short of money? I know where the shortage comes from. Yep, it’s the dryer’s fault. Any money, coins or bills, left in pockets will be sucked out by the dryer and collected by the person doing the laundry. But money isn’t the only thing that can disappear in the dryer.

Magical ChapStick. ChapStick can go through a complete wash and spin cycle and be just fine. But once in the dryer, ChapStick magically disappears, even though the cap is still on! Sadly, it reappears all over the clothes, but it’s not the only thing that doesn’t do well in the heat of a dryer.

Not dryer friendly. While doing laundry back on Flamingo Street, Mom always got upset when she found certain items in the dryer. Mom wasn’t happy when she found marbles, jacks, rocks, or dirt clods in our pockets after the clothes were dry, but there were two things that made her run up the steps screaming for one of us to “Come to the laundry room right now!”

I learned early on in life — Jellybeans, and a pack of gum could go through the washing machine just fine in your pocket, but don’t fare as well in the heat of a dryer.

Once she finished reading this story, The Wife said, “You know what else doesn’t do well in the dryer? Screws, washers, nuts, and drill bits.”

I said, “It’s not me. It’s the dryer’s fault.” Then I asked, “Did you happen to find twenty dollars when you did laundry yesterday? I think it was in my pocket.”

“You’re missing twenty dollars?” She smiled, gave me a kiss, and replied, “It’s the dryer’s fault.”

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories weekly in The Citizen since 2001.]