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Slices of Life: When life gives you fabric softener

Jill Pertler

It was a go-to-the-store-for-laundry-detergent-come-home-with-fabric-softener kind of day.

And it happened to me. Of course it did.

But hey, everyone has bad days. Not a one of us has a corner on that market.

And bad days are in the eye of the beholder. I think about this when I'm having a bad day, but sometimes I don't want to listen to my own good advice. Sometimes I just get off on feeling sorry for myself and my no-good supremely-bad day.

I think sometimes we have to feel lousy once in a while. It makes us appreciate the better times:

The days when our socks match.

When we locate the car keys without even trying. Ditto that for sunglasses.

When we get all green lights on our way to work.

When we go to throw the washed load into the dryer and our spouse has beat us to the task.

When the sun is shining on the coldest of winter days.

When we start (or finish) a really great book. Double-ditto that for a Netflix series.

When the family is all home for supper.

Anything that makes us laugh from the belly.

When we go to the store for laundry detergent and actually come home with the goods.

Which brings us full circle back to the fabric softener. What is it with labels these days? There are so many details. So many choices. Why not make the fabric softener label a different color (or something) than the detergent label?

When I'm shopping, I don't want to look at details. I don't want to pay attention at all, but it's become a necessity. I consider a trip to the grocery store successful if I don't come home with an inadvertent can or two of low-sodium green beans.

But you know what? It happens. There are an unlimited number of grocery snafus lurking in the aisles:

Choosing the mega-strong toilet paper when you were trying for mega-soft. (There's a packaging conundrum I don't have the time or space to address).

Salt without the iodine.

Buying the regular paper towels versus the pick-a-size.

Orange juice with too much pulp or too little calcium or maybe both.

Crunchy peanut butter when you wanted creamy.

Those green beans I alluded to earlier.

Stuff happens. It's going to happen and it's going to happen to you. What we do with it defines who we are.

Let's just say, hypothetically speaking, you went to the store for laundry detergent and came home with fabric softener. Unlikely, I know. But some silly soul may have experienced this improbable reality. What does a person do in such a case scenario?

She doesn't let it ruin her day. She laughs at the mistake. She understands she has one load of laundry that needs to be washed in the next 24 hours and she does not want to make a return trip to the store. So she gets creative. Washing clothes is similar to what? You don't want a ton of lather, but you need cleaning action.

I opted for shampoo — just a bit. Enough to get the grease and grime off the dirty clothes.

And you know what? It worked. I got a clean load without going back to the store. I still have the extra fabric softener, but that is not going to spoil my day, much less my life.

If I let a little thing like fabric softener ruin my day, what does that say about the overall scheme of things?

Not much. Maybe too much.

Life is tough enough without us beating ourselves up over the likes of the laundry. I suggest (humbly) that we try/attempt to see the glass as half-full and give ourselves a break when we make a mistake or fall short of our goals.

In the meantime, if anyone needs fabric softener, give me a holler.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.