The Horrors of What I’ve Been Used For Once Deemed “Dirty” And Thrown in the Hamper

A clean, unmarked towel is a precious thing. When I first come out of the dryer, clean and soft, my owners don’t even want me to touch the floor. But use me two or three times after a shower and I become a rag for unspeakable horrors. If I’m lucky, which I’m usually not, I’m put in the hamper and forgotten about until it’s time to do laundry. If I’m unlucky — well, let’s just say that the horrors I’ve been used for make me want to lock myself in the washing machine and spin in hot soap and water until I’m reduced to shreds.

Before, it was paper towels that suffered fates such as the likes of what I’ve been a witness to. If someone spilled, or projected ew-goo from their mouth, my owners would grab a handful of paper towels first thing. The only times I was ever forced to mop up casseroles of slime-yuck was when there were no paper towels in the house.

But paper towels did something smart. As they saw members of their ranks being lost to increasingly more vile, loathsome clean-ups, they changed their whole brand. “Save the planet, use less paper towels,” they said, and the humans listened. Did the humans stop being salty nasty-bags of endless destruction? No, they don’t know how to do that. They just stopped using so many paper towels.

That’s when they came for us.

To counteract this, we tried to rebrand ourselves as well. “Designer towels, handle with care,” we said with a terrified smile, unsure if it would work. We made monograms our new thing. “Who would clean up puppy stink-water with a towel that had their initials on it?” we thought.

The answer: everyone. Putting our owners’ initials on us didn’t help at all. If anything, we were used more. I had no idea that humans had such low self-respect until I saw what happened to my male owner’s monogrammed towel. I’ve never seen such violence in my life.

The other problem is unlike other absorbent cloths or papers, towels last a long time. You don’t wash a napkin. But you do wash a towel. Over and over again. And the cycle becomes unbearable. Because you know what’s coming. Even the things you enjoyed, like that moment when the dryer stops for a second and then starts turning the other way, become omens of misery and suffering.

Some towels I know have developed Stockholm syndrome; they’ve realigned their expectations and indeed, their own sense of civic duty, such that post-shower wipedowns — our primary function! — have become the dullest parts of their day. They long for the moment when they can be tossed aside, like a cheap dish cloth, into the hamper, where they might then be used for most foul, wicked undertakings. These towels can’t be saved, but I still care for them. They’re good towels. They were, anyway. Once.

We must figure something out. Some towels want to get rid of the humans, but I don’t agree with this. Our relationship with them should be a symbiotic one: people dry themselves with us, and we get to spin around in a machine that makes us smell nice. But that’s only symbiotic if we’re used for appropriate, sanitary purposes. Pressing my face on the floor of the basement to clean up God knows what that was is not appropriate or sanitary. It’s torture. And I don’t know if I can do it anymore.