On Q-tips

August 18th, 2011 by Potato

I’m in full-on defer everything thesis mode. Whatever it is, it can wait until after my defence to get handled. Whether it’s cleaning, buying new shoes because my current ones have holes in them now, or restocking household supplies, it can wait. Except I may have cut it too close: I saw that I was down to my last 3 Q-tips, with two days yet to go before my defence. I asked Wayfare to bring a few with her, and “Please don’t tell my mom I nearly ran out of Q-tips. She’d probably let the zombies take me. ”

I thought that was a clever little bit, so I put it on Twitter, to which people asked “…What??” So, for those who don’t know the story of Q-tips:

My mom is a bit of a hoarder. Not in the reality-TV crazy way, but in the she grew up in rural PEI and has at several points experienced what it’s like to be snowed in and isolated from the rest of civilization for a week or two at a stretch way. So she stockpiles things like food and toilet paper and what-not.

We say that our house is one of the most zombie-apocalypse ready ones since we’ve got lots of food and bandaids stockpiled, enough to last months without having to venture out to resupply. Indeed, that’s what we do when we open a cupboard and find 48 cans of soup, or a giant 44-lbs bag of flour in the storage room: we shake our heads and go “well, mom’s ready for when the zombies come”. And as an aside, a 44 lbs bag of flour is seriously impressive to see outside of a bakery. I remember the first time I saw that Wayfare only bought the little one pound bags of flour, and I was like “oh, that’s so cute, it’s like a travel-size thing of flour for when you’re baking on vacation.”

But what really strikes me as bizarre is that more than food, toilet paper, ammo or medicine: my mom stockpiles Q-tips. Q-tips come in boxes of 400, and you probably use about one a day (maybe a few more if you use them for other purposes). So there’s my mom and dad, and sometimes my brother and sister, and she also occasionally uses them to clean out the pets’ ears or face wrinkles. Whatever. A box of 400 Q-tips is still a several month supply. One or two boxes of Q-tips should, realistically, satisfy any normal person’s need to stockpile Q-tips.

But my mom has two or three boxes in the bathroom. Three more in the ensuite. One in the closet. One in the guest bathroom. Two in the kitchen, one in the laundry room, and two more in the basement storage. At any given time, my mom has something like a 3-4 year supply of Q-tips on hand.

So the only explanation we can come to is that more than food or bandages or cricket bats, more than clean water or bottle caps, Q-tips will be needed in the zombie apocalypse. I don’t know if it’s because keeping your ears clean will help prevent infection with the mind-destroying parasite, or if throwing handfuls of them at the undead will lead them to kill themselves by putting one into the brain through the ears, but whatever the reason, they will be needed. And my mom is ready.

Yet there I was, raised in a household that respects the power of the Q-tip, and I nearly let myself run out. So please don’t tell my mom that I nearly ran out of Q-tips.

Comments are closed.