Opinion: Sweeping conversation topic


The other day I received something interesting in the mail.

Dear Mr. Wolfsie,

Thank you for buying a new Oreck. We hope you enjoy many years of vacuuming pleasure. Please call us about hosting an Oreck party today.

I don’t intend to spend a single enjoyable moment with my vacuum. I have always felt there is something very frightening about vacuum cleaners. Every dog I have ever owned agrees.

I have no recollection of a similar follow-up after the Wolfsies bought our new sump pump. And no one cared a whit whether I had a positive experience with our document shredder. I recently had some issues with my Internet connection. The cable company called me the next day to ask if I would rate the service I was provided. 

“I would be happy to do that,” I told the caller, “provided someone finally shows up.”

About that Oreck get-together: I’m not usually at a loss for words, but I’d be stuck for snappy conversation while guests clustered around the artichoke dip. I took a speech class in college and once spoke off-the-cuff for 15 minutes on the topic, “Life Before Rubber Bands.” Nevertheless, the prospect of chatting with 20 people who share similar cleaning devices was daunting.

“So, Dick, I understand you and your wife have a new Oreck. Enlighten the group with some of your favorite moments.”

“It’s hard to pick our favorites. The night the bag of Fritos fell on the rug was unforgettable. We loved it last week when the cat shredded the down pillow. But Mary Ellen has a special place in her heart for Christmas Eve when the tree toppled over and pine needles were all over the living room floor.”

I think Mary Ellen and I will take a pass on having an Oreck party. We don’t want to sit around while our friends share their dirty little secrets. And we still have feelings for our first vacuum cleaner. It was tough saying goodbye to Kirby after 25 years. He was the product of a bygone era. Until the day Kirby died, he pretty much remained in the closet.


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