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Confessions of a Slobaholic

The door hinge creaks.

A perfect line of dust is illuminated through faded royal blue curtains.

A lone sock hangs from a lampshade.

For a split second, peace.

Look up.

Look down.

Look around.

Three mental screen shots are taken in rapid succession with each blink of incredulity, as a waft of staleness assaults your nostrils. As you take your first step forwards your foot gets sucked into a current of dirty laundry and oh my god a plate, you're slipping on a plate, a dirty plate with what can only be a deadly highly illegal radioactive substance on it. Turning, you desperately grab for something, anything, to stop you plummeting into certain death. An open drawer offers you the only way out of this hell hole; you lunge in its direction, desperately grasping for stability. But stability does not exist in this world of chaos. No. The drawers aren't helping you. They're working against you, like everything else in this cesspit of misery and pain. Life slows, and you see everything you love and have ever loved flash before your eyes, before the 5ft solid oak, steel supported, human-hating set of drawers comes crashing down on you, firing artillery of junk and debris and clutter which sat deceivingly still just seconds before. You try to escape and deflect the incoming ambush but it's too late. Your mouth has just enough time to form an 'o' before the force of a thousand men comes crashing down on you. The pain is fast and sudden, but soon fades into darkness.

The previous events highlight the sort of tragic consequences that can occur when mess ensues. If you are (or were) a messy individual like me, you will understand how frustratingly time consuming this can be. Simple things become mammoth tasks when mess takes hold; for example, locating a pen to go to a lecture with. By keeping your room tidy, you could potentially save yourself 15 incredibly stressful minutes, the first 5 of which are spent cursing and nursing the toe you stubbed on the incredibly hard chair leg which was lurking behind a soft pillow. General mental function within a messy room can also prove difficult; the aesthetics of clutter can have a profound slowing effect on the mind, even to the point of speech loss. So why then, with such detrimental effects, do we continue to live such a shambolic lifestyle? Here are some popular theories for the reasons behind the average students' behavioral display of disorganisation and filth:

1. Genetic abnormality - overexpression of the slob gene.Expressed on chromosome 9, control and expression of the slob gene is an incredibly complex process, affected by various environmental factors. Figure one depicts the relationship between relative slob gene expression and cleanliness. Note,
very low expression of the slob gene results in entrance
into the danger zone of cleanliness. Expression of
this gene has also been found to be increased with
increased consumption of alcohol and number of
deadlines, and therefore gives strong evidence for the
slobish lifestyle of the student demographic.

2. Learnt behaviour.

As with everything in life, all behaviour is learnt. Rather than our slobish ways being permanently engraved in our genetic make-up, it has been hypothesised that actually the majority of our cleanliness is due to learnt behaviour, i.e. blame the parents. In recent years, however, it has been disputed that rather than learning and copying the behaviour of parents, the slobotype of an individual is a rebellion against the dominant voice, which brings us to...

3. Rebellion against parents/freedom of expression

Originally devised in 1872 from the account of Alfred the Bad*, this popular theory explains the many rule-breaking behaviours of the adolescent human. In particular, it presents the incessant nagging, mythering and impossible demands of 'tidy your room' from the parental figures as a strong driving force behind the development of even messier rooms of the offspring - thus, a continuous downward spiral into slobhood. Not to be overlooked, this has the potential to perpetuate throughout later life, which could lead to disastrous consequences.

*Woeful tale of a 17 year old boy living in 19th century London; a truly harrowing personal account of his parents' absurdly strict and unfair rules and his subsequent disobeying of them. Original copy destroyed in a fire in 2002.

4. Plain laziness, so stop using these silly made-up excuses and organise your life.

What if there wasn’t a deep rooted reason behind the student messy crisis? And actually, we are just representatives of the national problem of laziness? Initially, I refused to accept this. Me? I couldn’t be lazy, rather, there is no room in my brain to be clean and tidy; I am simply too busy being excellent in every possible way. Why must we make such a mountain out of a tiny little mole-hill? Why, when there are so many more important things, friendships, relationships, jobs, pet goldfish, should we care about tidiness? Why can’t we just be happy to leave everything in its improper place?

Quite simply, the way of the slob tends not to be compatible with life. Realistically, you can’t continue to be a disgusting layabout forever, however right it might feel for you. Life will become much, MUCH easier if you have a tidy room and actually know where all your stuff is. Keeping your lecture notes and uni work organised also seems to make it easier to do, and you might even find that your grades get better (groundbreaking, I know). Keeping mouldy plates around which would have a better place in an antibiotic discovery lab than your floor also tends to shun away members of the opposite sex. I once monitored the progression of life by the number of clean pairs of socks I had left, which was frequently incredibly low. Now that I’ve turned my life around through the medium of tidying, I’ve found it runs a lot smoother, and I am blessed each day wih a bounty of clean socks. The journey’s been hard, and not without it’s intense struggles. But my life has changed for the better, and I’d strongly recommend my fellow slobs to follow in my footsteps and ditch the dirt once and for all.

I didn’t chose the slob life; the slob life chose me.


Michael H Postgraduate Research The University of Edinburgh Fine art View full profile
Michael  H
17 January 2017
Great read - love these articles
Sam M Undergraduate The University of St Andrews Others in European languages & area studies View full profile
Sam M
17 January 2017
Enjoyed reading this

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