Ever since we were kids, our parents have taught us a simple lesson of responsibility. There were only two of us. I and my younger sister. Two years younger than me. We are tasked simple household chores — washing dishes, watering the plants, scrubbing the floor, weeding the garden, cleaning the windows. All those simple chores we get by peacefully except one thing: getting the chamber pot into the house at night.
There has always been an ongoing debate as to who would really get that responsibility (not that it is much coveted). Who would really want to get the stinky piece of container in the dark bathroom hallway at night?
To solve the dilemma, a compromise was done. Whoever gets to wash the dishes for dinner would be excused to do the dirty job. Equally pleasing. The problem is, both chores are hated. Nobody wants to do the dishes alone at the kitchen while the rest are sitting comfortably at the sofa watching TV. Plus, the dinner dishes are many because all of us are in the house.
It was a tough choice. But I chose to wash the dishes. On one condition: I won’t cook dinner. The deal was sealed. There won’t be turmoil. No more war. Or so I thought.
Few days later, my younger sister seems to forget her big mission: bringing the chamber pot in. One of our parents would yell at us. There would be a debate. World War II erupts.
My sister is afraid of the dark (she says). I think she is just bluffing. To cover up for the sloth she is. Our father thinks we both are. My mother ends up to be the one getting the talked about pot.
Years later, the duty of bringing the pot in had been less and less argumentative. My sister kept missing her job. The cycle goes on. I end up being the one getting the damn pot. My parents got tired of scolding us. Oftentimes, they get to do the filthy job.
Looking back, maybe the filthy chamber pot taught us things. Learning to compromise, bend rules for the common good, for maintaining a a quiet place (for the neighborhood’s sake), or from sticking up and overlapping each other’s roles. Maybe it has made us discuss issues of sibling rivalry, of who’s getting more of the attention, of the fact that it was fair ever since. Maybe it has brought to end all those endless discussion. Or maybe it has sparked a discussion.
One thing I do know for sure: it’s still filthy.
And oh, the controversial pot looks like this (forget the cute cartoons and my bad editing):
For in chaos, there will be peace.
In everything, there comes a purpose.