When I was eight or nine, my friend Karen had a bright purple bedroom. Karen is a little older than I am, which made her infinitely cooler and wiser than I was. One of the things I remember most specifically about her room back then was a Smurf poster that read, “Geniuses are rarely tidy.” I remember thinking, “Yes. YES. This is most definitely true.” My plan at the time was to use this phrase from that point forward to combat all requests to clean my room or the bathroom or to do basically any other household chore.
It’s funny how specific, snapshot memories can creep up on you at unexpected times. Today – thirty-plus years after being exposed to that poster – I am cleaning my house. I am preparing for guests who are visiting this weekend. I still don’t like to clean. And as I was begrudgingly vacuuming, wiping food off of kitchen chairs, and picking up socks in random rooms while choosing to ignore things that caught my eye under beds and couches (pretending I didn’t really see them and therefore surely no one else will notice either), I remembered that Smurf poster. And I thought to myself, “Yes. YES. Geniuses ARE rarely tidy.” Then I smiled a big, proud smile, because clearly I live in a house full of geniuses.