The Little Boy Who Cleaned His Room
Once upon a time there lived a kind, unassuming little boy. He lived in the woods with his mother and father. As he grew up, he went to school and did all of the things little boys like to do. He would often play outside, pretending to be a cowboy or astronaut or dinosaur. When he was out in the forest, he also enjoyed making friends with the animals, and caring for the plants. He loved the earth and everything on it.
Not all was sunshine and fun in the little boy’s life. You see, the little boy’s mother was very insistent that he keep his room clean. This was very hard for the little boy, who was often daydreaming and playing instead of searching for chores to do. When he went to bed at night, he left his clothes on the floor right where he took them off. When he read a book, or drew a picture, he put it next to his bed or on a table where he could easily reach it when he wanted it. The little boy’s room was always cluttered, filled with the things he used and wore, none of it organized, but all of it accessible. When he was forced to clean his room, he tended to lose things, and even the greater freedom of movement could not compensate for the sterile gloom that engulfed him as he sat in a room that looked un-lived in and unfriendly.
When the little boy’s mother cleaned, she used big, loud vacuum cleaners and sharp-smelling, brightly-colored chemicals. She scrubbed everything, and even the wooden floors and furniture supported an artificial glow, reflecting the beams of light from lamps unencumbered by dust. Meanwhile, in the little boy’s room, dust bunnies scampered beneath the bed, cliffs of books towered over sweeping savannahs of jeans and t-shirts, and the most efficient pathways from door to closet to bed to bookshelf cut river-valleys of clear floor through the landscape.
As the little boy grew older, his mother complained more and more about his room, so he cleaned more and more. He picked up his clothes, toys and books. He used the vacuum and the chemicals. The cliffs and valleys disappeared, the landscape became flat and uninteresting, the dust bunnies died off. The more the boy’s room was cleaned, the more energy, vacuuming, and chemicals were needed to hold back the entropy, which until the boy began cleaning had been kept in a natural equilibrium with the environment.
Outside of their little home, power plants and factories sprang up in greater numbers to provide the chemicals and vacuums, and the electricity to power them. They mined the earth for resources, leveling the cliffs and filling in the valleys. They dumped the byproducts from creating the vacuums and chemicals into the rivers. The landscape became flat and uninteresting, the animals died off. As the little boy and his mother increasingly forced order on the inside of their home, the outside world which the little boy loved so much became forced into order in an effort to sustain the supply of cleaning products.
One day the boy went outside and looked around. He wanted to go explore the forest, but it was gone. His animal friends had all left or were dead, killed by the pollution. The small plants were also gone or dead. And even the wooden stumps and rivers supported an artificial glow, reflecting the beams of light from a sun encumbered by smog.
He later died of lung cancer and sadness.
Don’t clean your room.