When I was a child, and even on into my youth and young-adulthood, many people extolled the virtues of elbow grease. They fervently claimed that elbow grease could help you to accomplish a great many difficult tasks.
In my experience, although maybe not yours, elbow grease was most often prescribed for tough cleaning chores, such as removing heavily baked-on, caked-on grime from a surface on which you didn’t want baked-on, caked on grime. (I know what you are going to ask. “Who wants baked-on, caked-on grime on any surface?” You wouldn’t ask that question if you, like me, were a word-class slob. We slobs are at one with grime on most surfaces, but even I have my limits.)
Elbow grease might have been most frequently used for cleaning jobs, but it was also regularly recommended for accomplishing missions such as unscrewing a badly rusted-in screw. (Hmm. I wonder if elbow grease could have been used for lubrication when doing other sorts of screwing. But I digress.)
Elbow grease devotees were dedicated to their elixir. If you ever called for, say a heavy-duty cleanser or some newfangled cleaning gadget to tackle a difficult scrubbing job, these frugal elbow grease enthusiasts would scoff at you and say something like, “Don’t be silly. All it needs is a little elbow grease.”
The same was true for many extra-tough household handyman or handywoman chores. (When I was a lad, few people would have included “handywoman” in the preceding sentence, but I’m nothing if not politically correct. Then again, maybe I’m nothing.)
“A power tool?” the elbow grease fans would ask. “Hire a professional? Are you crazy? A little elbow grease is all you need to get the job done.”
And, what’s more, this was truly a miracle substance. I never heard anyone say, “Wow, that’s a mammoth undertaking you’re trying to tackle! You’re going to need a ton of elbow grease if you’re going to have any hope of getting it done.”
No, according to elbow grease advocates, “a little elbow grease” was all you ever needed no matter how big the job was.
You might have noticed that I used only the past tense in the preceding paragraphs. There is a reason for that. I was recently struck by the realization that it has probably been at least a couple of decades since I last heard anyone recommend the virtues of elbow grease. Why is that?
Am I no longer travelling in the sorts of circles that include people who would be caught dead using or admitting to using elbow grease?
Has something better come along to supplant elbow grease and I haven’t heard about it? If so, I certainly want to know about this stuff. Anything that can outdo the reputed wonders of elbow grease must be a phenomenal product.
One possible explanation for my not hearing elbow grease recommendations anymore has me very worried. (I worry about everything, but this concern is rapidly shooting up my angst chart.) Maybe the plant or animal from which elbow grease was derived has gone extinct. Maybe the only reason nobody recommends elbow grease anymore is it’s now impossible to get it.
If that’s the case, why aren’t the governments of the world funding research into this problem? Why aren’t they urgently searching for ways to produce artificial elbow grease, possibly using sophisticated bioengineering techniques?
This is a vital issue. We should demand that our governments allocate sufficient funds to study it thoroughly, solve the problem and bring back our crucial supplies of elbow grease!
Rally for the cause! Rally for elbow grease! (As long as rallying doesn’t require too much effort. We wouldn’t want to get carried away.)
P.S.: Now that I think of it, whatever became of greased lightning? Is it my imagination or do a lot fewer things run like greased lightning than when I was younger? But, never mind. Let’s focus on one important issue at a time.
Categorised as: stuff and nonsense