They say that a great writer writes about something she knows, so I’m gonna write about something I know all too well – shower problems.

I personally don’t have problems with showers – no, I really don’t, what’s that look? I really don’t! – but many people I know of treat showers like homework. Meaning, they procrastinate when it comes to showers.

A very dear friend of mine, who we’ll call X, is the most academically responsible person I’ve ever known, but she puts off showers like my third grade cousin does with his social studies projects.

X would come home from two hours of biking and face the grand question, shower or food?

And of course she gave in to the human’s natural need for food. And after food, another grand question – shower or sleep? Sleep – of course, of course. And another day passes by without showering.

I personally think that she’s just procrastinating from taking a shower by doing her homework, as an outlet for her innate tendency to put things off. Showering is a very strange thing – it’s like homework in that it never ends. But some homework does end and you can at least categorize it by subject, whereas with showering you can’t.

You can say, “I’m done with calculus for the rest of my life.” But you can’t say, “I’m done with showering my arm for the rest of my life” unless your purpose of life is to disgust other people with the smell of your arm. Wait – do you even get the choice of not showering a specific body part? Well, you can’t be done with showering for the rest of your life, anyway.

You are always in the state of having showered and needing to shower at the same time. This is a very Zen-like thing. You have showered, and yet you have not showered.

You’re in two contradictory states at the same time, but you are just one entity. How can that be? I don’t know either – it’s one of those big questions much more difficult than “Shower or sleep?”

I guess, then, since everyone is always showered and unshowered, it’s really the state of your mind that matters. You can be just out of the shower five minutes ago, but still feel dirty and, so, mentally you’re still unshowered.

Or, you can be like my friend X, who hasn’t actually showered yet but because it doesn’t bother her that she hasn’t showered, her mind tends more toward the showered side. It’s just like the whole Zen idea, whether you’ve showered or not depends heavily on whether you think you’ve showered or not. Descartes would agree with me, too -“I think I’m showered, therefore I am.”

I don’t know too much about philosophy, but if I did, I’m sure there would be many other ancient philosophers who agree with my shower Zen, especially because, in their eras, a shower took much more effort than it does today. Therefore, a good shower philosophy was much more needed then than it is today.

I wish I could read this masterpiece of shower Zen-ness to my nose, so that it would agree with my mind that I have already showered, and stop sending those “gosh, you smell like crap!” messages to my brain.

Unfortunately, my nose is not equipped with ears and so I couldn’t read this piece to it. Therefore, now I have to go shower.

Wang can be reached at

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