Section: Opinion

It’s as easy as 1,2,3: clean up after yourself

Annie Sheslow, Contributor

Fellow Kenyon students, please bear with me as I delve into one of the deeper unsolvable questions of reality: why are we all so gross?

I can sort of understand the mid-party confidence that encourages chucking an empty Keystone can into the air because Katy Perry’s “Roar” is playing in the Bullseye. Your party brain assures itself that the can will fly to the recycling bin on the breeze of weekend optimism. But either the raccoons are getting a lot more zealous in kidnapping bits of trash and displaying them around campus or people are becoming more careless. We can no longer fashion ourselves as royalty who lord over all of South Quad expecting a humble servant to clean up after our apathetically-left messes.

I have no qualms about people being slobs in private, because, being one, that would be hypocritical. Being messy around campus is different, because it suggests a certain level of snobbery toward our maintenance department, which works so hard to keep our campus looking as magically Hogwarts-like as possible. Being gross by leaving smeared blackberry jam on a square table in Peirce, for example, also communicates disrespect for other students and community members who use the space. I am an expert on laziness and can say that taking 30 seconds to mop up a jam swath saves an AVI worker a good five minutes of scrubbing the sticky mess when it hardens into what resembles fruit glue after a couple hours.

While my medical knowledge derives from watching several seasons of Scrubs and browsing WebMD every time I get a cough, I am pretty sure a lot of the viruses invading campus would have a much harder time spreading if we were less gross. Just little stuff like washing your hands after being on or around a toilet; not sneezing on the back of the person’s neck in front of you in seminar; wiping the sink down if it looks like the floor of a salon after you gave yourself Zooey Deschanel bangs; and refraining from hacking spit bubbles onto the Ascension steps is a good start. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if there is any chance your behavior or hygiene choices might give someone diarrhea. If the answer is yes, probably stop, unless you for some reason want to get revenge on an enemy that way, which is cruel and weird.

In all seriousness, this is one of the hardest pieces I have ever written. I struggled with this article because I know most people don’t want to be the subject of or the audience for a marathon of overdramatic whining. As much as I am in complete awe of the power of mothers, I don’t want to seem like the campus’s mom, so frustrated at the laziness of her son that she is ready to spend his college fund on a weekend full of mistakes at the Borgata in Atlantic City. I don’t want to pick on people and make anyone feel as though I am in some impervious cloud of perfection. Of course, on her magic measuring tape, I am a couple cozy centimeters below Mary Poppins in terms of perfection.

My self-reflection on my position as an Opinions columnist extends partly from the judgmental nature of this piece as well as my recent millionth viewing of the 2007 Pixar classic Ratatouille, in which food critic Anton Ego describes the thrill ride of writing critique: “[Critics] risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.”

Stepping on the bothersome habits of other people in order to rant about them publicly does not make me innocent of the same habits, but it does make for an entertaining read. Know that I am not sitting on my high horse (which I have converted into a living duster by tying Swiffer cloths to his hooves), waving like a princess to the filthy masses with Purell-glistened palms. Most likely I am in Peirce blowing my nose slyly behind the Newscope fliers, wearing a sweater that has an old soup stain below my left boob that I may or may not have noticed.  I am right here with you when I say let’s pull ourselves up by those muddy laces and clean up our act.

 Annie Sheslow ’15 is an English major from Wilmington, Delaware. She can be reached at 


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