* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are not the least bit worried about your obsessive-compulsive disorder. No, not all. We've put it out of our minds and you should too! Why not just distract yourself by reading this wonderful piece by Alice Whittenburg, her first for us. Not that we're counting or anything.

One Little Thing

By: Alice Whittenburg

5:08 a.m. Elsbeth Heckleton is wrong as usual! I DID go to therapy and now will: 1) keep a journal; 2) notice feelings and surroundings; and 3) each day let one little thing go — won’t wash, scrub, or disinfect it.

5:23 a.m. Scrubbed kitchen floor. Noticed 1.25 inch by 1.98 inch by 0.48 inch patch of chewing gum. Felt horrified to find it and disgusted to remember that Elsbeth Heckleton was a gum chewer.

7:06 a.m. Wiped counters with strong disinfecting spray. Noticed spray bottle only 65% full and felt I had to go get more. Noticed I was always the one to replace cleaning supplies when Elsbeth Heckleton lived here.

10:41 a.m. Wiped smears from bathroom mirror. Noticed grim determination on my reflected face. Felt righteous.

11:50 a.m. Swept patio and washed windows. Noticed more than 100 ants; stepped on some but they were too numerous. Felt that if Elsbeth were here, she would ask, “What if ants are representatives from another planet trying to determine if humans are kind or cruel?” Noticed that Elsbeth says whimsical things because she consumes too much content in the fantasy genre.

4:09 p.m. Ate dinner and felt like taking all the dishes out of the cabinets to wash them. Noticed that the silverware could use a polish, too.

7:01 p.m. Went into bathroom to sanitize my toothbrush. Startled a small-to-medium cockroach when I turned on the bathroom light. It scrambled into the overflow drain in the sink, but its antennae protruded from the drain hole. I could see those antennae, crisscrossing and waving around, as I waited for the cockroach to emerge and meet its fate.

7:02 p.m. Noticed that cockroach antennae are longer than those of the red ants, common crickets, and carpet beetles I killed today.

7:03 p.m. Noticed that cockroach antennae are shorter than those of a 1957 Emerson Bakelite Radio with Miracle Wand, a 1957 two-tone RCA TV with rabbit ears and a 1996 Nokia mobile phone, all of which Elsbeth tried to pressure me to sell on eBay. Felt she was trying to force me to adapt to new technology.

7:05 p.m. Felt I would be annoyed if Elsbeth said, “Cockroaches are real survivors,” and made reference to the robot in WALL-E who was friends with a cockroach. Noticed that I never saw a single cockroach until Elsbeth lived here!

7:06 p.m. Felt I would be annoyed if Elsbeth said, “Don’t the cockroach’s wings look like dragon leather?” Noticed I was angry that she made me watch How to Train Your Dragon!

7:09 p.m. Felt it was no wonder I asked Elsbeth Heckleton to move out. Because of whimsy. And incessant complaining. About the cleaning. Noticed she’s the one who needs a therapist!!

3:57 a.m. Finished scrubbing sink and disinfecting bathroom after I caught emerging cockroach in a jar and released it in the yard. Noticed that it did feel good to let one little thing go.