Friday, October 16, 2009

Frank Bunker Gilbreth

There are things we do every day that give us a sense that “all’s right with the world”. An orderliness that allows us to face an otherwise chaotic world we can't control. For some it’s mediation, for others it’s exercise, and for yet others its a walk in the morning stillness. For me it happens in the shower. As a matter of fact I have been showering exactly the same for nearly 40 years.

It all started when I watched a movie made in 1950 called “Cheaper by the Dozen” starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy. Clifton Webb plays the father, Frank Bunker Gilbreth, an efficiency expert who in one particular scene carefully instructs his children in the proper way to same time and water in the shower. Don't ask me why this made such an impression on my 15 year old mind. Let's simply accept the fact it did. From that time forward I followed those instructions as if they had come from my own father.
I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s based on the principle that water flows downhill.

1) Shampoo hair – rinse thoroughly
2) Suds up wash cloth
3) Scrub face, chin, neck, and behind the ears
4) Rinse face so as not to get soap in eyes
5) Continue with left arm then right arm
6) Followed by the stomach (etc here)
7) Continue to back left side the right
8) Followed by right leg then left leg
9) Then left foot and right foot
10) Finally by holding the wash cloth over the right shoulder reach behind and grab the tail of the cloth with the left hand and use an up and down sawing motion to wash the back.
11) Rinse out wash cloth and thoroughly rinse from head to toe.

I realize this may seem silly or even a bit peculiar, but it does give me a sense of stability and order in my life and I figure whatever it takes to face the day . . . it’s alright with me!

© 2009

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