You have your two camps.
You have your Creasers.
You have your Wrinkletarians.
Creasers are people who see the iron not as mere appliance, but as a divine instrument with which to do good.
Creasers are people who iron from the inside out and the socks up, and view anything Sta-prest as not only icky, but just a tad un-American.
Creasers are people who, at the slightest provocation, will iron such things as shoe tongues, jock straps, curly-haired dogs, broadleaf plants, damp newspapers and old people.
How do you know if you are a Creaser?
You always dress while looking in a mirror.
You can get the crease in your pants sharp enough to cut brush.
You iron dirty clothes before you take them to the dry cleaners.
At the other end of the ironing board you have your Wrinkletarians. Essentially, Wrinkletarians are people who approach ironing in much the same manner the CIA manages a covert operation--on a need-to-know basis.
Perhaps this kind-of-true anecdote will help explain:
Oliver Wendell Holmes and his wife are on a picnic in the country. At one point Mrs. Holmes says, “Yo, Ollie, look, the sheep have just been shorn.”
Holmes--a Wrinkletarian in the sense that he believes appearance isn’t everything--looks up from his lawbook and responds: “No, my dear, the sheep appear to have just been shorn--on the side facing us.”
The point being?
A Wrinkletarian is someone whose clothing appears to have just been ironed--on the side facing you. How do you know you are a Wrinkletarian?
You are scheduled to speak before a group, so you only iron the front of your pants.
You primarily use your iron to make toast.
You can’t sit on wicker furniture for fear of being mistaken for a basket of laundry.
In terms of cohabitation, Wrinkletarians and Creasers are like drinkers and teetotalers.
Wrinkletarians can live with Creasers, but Creasers can’t live with Wrinkletarians. There are three main reasons for this:
Because Creasers are always trying to improve Wrinkletarians, which inevitably causes static cling.
Because you can take a Wrinkletarian out of the wrinkles, but you can’t take the wrinkles out of a Wrinkletarian.
Because invariably there comes a day when the Creaser walks into the laundry room and sees the Wrinkletarian standing there in his or her underwear about to put on a blouse or a pair of pants straight from the dryer. And in the real world, there are just some things love doesn’t conquer.
Jim Shea is a columnist at the Hartford Courant. To reach him write to Jim Shea, Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115.