Posted by: chlost | June 17, 2012

When the bottom is empty and the brain is full

Words have a power all their own

Words have a power all their own (Photo credit: Lynne Hand)

Words are fascinating to me.

Sometimes words will just strike me as being strange. Awkward, for instance. The spelling is essentially its definition.

The word that has been intriguing me the past few days is “clean”.

We have finally hired a cleaning lady again after several years of trying to do it ourselves.

No, in actuality, we don’t try too hard. Thus the need to hire someone.

For the past two weeks, we have come home to a house that looks and smells clean. Amazing, wonderful and unbelievable all at the same time.

But that is what started me thinking about the word.

Then this past Friday I subjected myself to my first colonoscopy. (Hmm. Is that too much information? It fits the theme-stay with me).

If you have had this procedure, you know that there is a two-day preparation routine that includes a liquid diet, a “yummy” drink preparation, and plenty of reading time in the bathroom.

When we returned home after the hospital procedure last Friday to a wonderfully fresh, clean house I had one of those very strange thoughts……


Inside and out!

Then my drug-addled little brain began to think of all of the different ways that the word clean might apply to me as well as my house at that moment.

Clean as a whistle.

Clean clear through.

She cleans up pretty well.

Squeaky clean. (Did you know that hardwood floors make a squeaking sound when you walk on them in your stocking feet? I don’t think I did.)

For several hours after returning home, I was a bit drowsy. My mind began to wander a bit. I began to think about the many other sayings that use the word clean.

When you’ve run out of money, you are cleaned out. When you take everyone else’s money, you clean up.

You can make a clean sweep if you win several times.

When you don’t swear, you keep it clean.

Someone who is not a criminal has a clean record. A person who gets a fresh start has a clean slate.

If you are going to change your bad behavior, you will clean up your act. If you admit that you had past bad behavior, you will come clean.

When you get rid of many bad things or bad people, you clean house.

It would seem that we as a society are obsessed with clean. We even use a product called “Mr. Clean”.

Mr. Clean's logo.

Mr. Clean’s logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our language pegs us as a society of germophobes. In fact, I have had many friends and acquaintances proudly describe themselves this way. Not me.

I am not a clean freak.

Yikes! Stop me!

I’m going to make a clean getaway now and go to bed.

Oh, wait! The doctor did tell me that the test results should come back clean.



  1. I didn’t ‘get’ your title until I read the post. I have to say this is the only blog post I’ve ever seen which contained “colonoscopy” and a photo of Mr. Clean. Nice! 🙂

    Hope you have a clean bill of health.

    • Glad to tie those together for you! Clean bill of health….good one! How could I have missed that one?

  2. First, I want to thank you for your discretion in your description of the colonoscopy prep.

    Second, someone just sent me that same Mr. Clean image by text yesterday. Weird synchronicity.

    And third, I’m not impressed by clean freaks. I like my house to be neat but don’t freak out if it isn’t and who wants to eat off a kitchen floor anyway? Then again, my ex always said I had no respect for germ theory.

    • That bald guy must be everywhere! I think he started the current fad for men to wear earrings. Believe me, I was more than happy to skip over the details of the prep for the procedure.

  3. The mind does funny things when under the influence of anesthesia. My father came out of surgery singing the Dean Martin hit, “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.” He had a nice voice, but the Norwegian accent kept the hospital staff in stitches.

    • Wow! I am so glad all of my anesthesia reactions were in my mind! I don’t have a very good voice!! But that would have been awesome to hear….

  4. Those post-surgery musings are always a hoot.

    • The scary part is that I have continued to run this stuff through my brain long after it could be blamed on the surgery.

  5. I’ve just read this with considerable enjoyment — I’m a bit of a word freak too–and several following posts, all thanks to Time Goes by listing your blog this week. I think I’ll come back frequently. I’m glad I found your blog.

    • Hey, thanks so much for reading it. I hope you’ll stop by again soon!

  6. I do believe I enjoy your brain a great deal as it detoxifies from anesthesia. Could put yourself under one more time for me and then write a post about the word “verisimilitude”?

    • ummmm…..would the meaning of the word become more or less clear whilst under anesthesia?

  7. Oh, my, and they have already used up all the clean jokes in my repertoire. We too be clean.

    • Once I got started, they started to come unbidden. The brain is a very odd thing, indeed. Or maybe it is just mine.

  8. It was my second colonoscopy and I remembered I’d come home from the first one and gone straight to bed. The day before I’d replaced our bed pillows. Drifting off my last thought was my new pillows and I had the same five year warranty. Great blog.

    • That is great! How have those pillows held up?

      • It’s a tradition now. New pillows before a each procedure. A compliment: I like a blog when the poster actually reads our comment and responds. Sometimes our comments are trite, mundane, just about our same experiences or similar days. It’s all a connection. Kudos to you.

  9. Enjoyed your clean writing!

  10. Well, this whole post is too clean for me! Is it any wonder learners of English have such a difficult time acquiring our language?

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