A Query about Cleanliness

Yesterday, my son, fearless of grime, scum, and germs, pulled out the plug to the bathtub and looked as though he was going to place it in his mouth.

“Whoa,” I said, OCD alarms sounding in my psyche. “Don’t put that in your mouth.  It’s not the cleanest thing in the world.”

He raised his head and asked,  “What is the cleanest thing in the world?”

For reasons I’ve yet to discern, I answered with the first thing that popped in my head.

“Newborn babies.”

The boy scrunched up his eyes and replied, dubiously, “Really?”

“Well, newly bathed newborn babies.”

He didn’t buy it.  I’m not sure I do either, and yet I thought it and answered with it.  Our exchange got me thinking about the meaning of cleanliness.  Clearly I didn’t associated perfect cleanliness with sterility, but perhaps I should.  And yet I still like my initial response and am inclined to stick with it.

How would you answer the question, “What’s the cleanest thing in the world?

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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16 Responses

  1. Rodak says:

    A hound’s tooth. Everybody knows that.

  2. Rodak says:

    A whistle comes in a close second, of course.

  3. James Hanley says:

    Mitt Romney’s mind?

  4. Rodak says:

    Sometimes a slate or a sweep or a rap sheet…

  5. Rodak says:

    And then there’s always the getaway (which accounts for the rap sheet, perhaps…)

  6. MikeSchilling says:

    The fire engine of the Penny Lane fireman.

  7. Jaybird says:

    Warsh the kid’s elbow and say “now *THIS* is the cleanest thing in the world. You are allowed to put this elbow in your mouth.”

    You’re welcome.

  8. Anything that comes a-steamin’ out of the autoclave.

  9. It’s funny. There’s a whole bunch of comments about cleanliness over in the thread about Rush over at The 49th right now.

  10. Miss Mary says:

    Monk’s apartment

  11. Tod Kelly says:

    the patty duke show

  12. Kelly says:

    Ahah! This is so funny. I love it. How old is your son? And Jaybird, love the elbow trick. That was hilarious, and I will DEFINITELY use that on my 2 year old. Anyway Kyle, I’m not sure what I would say, but I am sure that newborn babies are closest thing to man glorified, in this fallen world, aside from Christ.

  13. b-psycho says:

    An unused, still in the package bar of soap.

    Of course, once used, it becomes rather quickly an object whose filth is such that you get leery about even touching it again. I’ve switched to gels.