When I was growing up, my favorite commercials featured the Dow Scrubbing Bubbles. These happy bubbles skated around your bathroom, disinfecting surfaces and shining the entire room into gleaming perfection. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, the Lead Bubble was voiced by Paul Winchell, the man who spoke for Tigger in the Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons. Tigger was, hands down, my favorite character in the Hundred Acre Wood. If he was recommending a product, I was sold.
It might seem odd for a ten year old kid to be obsessed with a cleaning product, but it was my job to scrub out the bathtub, and I hated it. There was always one stubborn stain requiring an excessive amount of elbow grease to remove. I was convinced this miracle product would change my life. But alas — I was destined to live out my years at home with only a scrubbing pad and a can of Comet to assist me in my labors. When the day arrived for me to move into my own apartment, I bought my long-awaited first can of Scrubbing Bubbles, and coated every surface in my bathroom with them. I waited the recommended time, and then rinsed off the product, eager to view the results.
I learned a lesson about the lack of truth in advertising that day.
Sure, the room smelled cleaner (if you equate the overpowering scent of chemicals with cleanliness), and I suppose there was a slight improvement, but it certainly wasn’t the miraculous result I was expecting. Soap residue persisted in some places, and suspicious stains marked the corners of the tub surround. I still needed to get down on my hands and knees, and SCRUB.
Unfortunately, I’m a slow learner — I’m still looking for shortcuts in life. When my knee hurts I take a pain reliever, even though I know exercising it would work better — and with longer lasting results. When I feel tired I wash a vitamin down with a cup of coffee, ignoring the realization that eating healthy foods and going to bed earlier would serve me better. How many times have I fired up my laptop, fully intending to write a story, only to end up surfing the web for “publishing tips” instead? And not so long ago, I walked past a can of Scrubbing Bubbles in the store, and despite my previous failed experience, I BOUGHT IT. (I reasoned that they might have stumbled upon a magical formula for instant perfection in the last thirty-five years. They haven’t.)
Obviously, short-cuts aren’t the answer: If I want to achieve something, I need work for it. If I want to be a writer, then I must write. If I want a strong knee, I must exercise it. And if I want a clean tub, then I better get to scrubbing.
It’s as simple as that.