2017 was ... well, it was a year! I got my ass handed to me over and over and over again and it was humiliating and I want to die. But also! A lot of incredible things happened and, at the encouragement of so many of my female colleagues — God bless them all, every last one, for being fierce and tough for me when I’ve lost the ability to do anything other than collapse under the weight of my own tears — I made a list of the ten best things I wrote this year. I might hate myself and want to die, but damn, I do love these posts. Enjoy!
I can’t think of a better way to have marked my return to Deadspin than by doing a deep dive into a semen mystery and the importance of fact-checking.
Speaking of Clean Person mysteries! This one was so so so weird and satisfying: I figured out what makes those sticky hand toys so incredibly stain-y and, more importantly, how to eliminate the snail-trail they leave on walls and ceilings.
Returning to GMG has been great in so many ways — bringing the Cleancast back to Deadspin has been a dream, launching a new iteration of Ask a Clean Person focused on parenting at Offspring has been a wonderful and fun challenge — but nothing (NOTHING!!!) has been more thrilling for me than rolling out AaCP at Jalopnik. My love for the site and the wonderful weirdos/enthusiasts who make it what it is knows no bounds.
Two words: Fart. Cave.
Technically, this isn’t something I wrote in 2017 — it’s a podcast ep, after all — though I did script it and write up the show notes for Deadspin, so I’m counting it! Leah Finnegan had long been one of my Holy Grail Cleancast guests and I couldn’t believe my good luck when she agreed to come on the show to talk about laundering dark and indigo clothing. And then! It turned out that she’s a laundry enthusiast just like me and was utterly delighted by the industry terms I introduced her to and now we’re IRL friends and I’m happy.
One more Cleancast ep! When Josh Gondelman joined me for my Hanukkah episode, I knew things would get wicked funny. But I couldn’t have anticipated the hilarity of the two of us dreaming up a Jewish coastal Mainer shouting to his wife, “ESTAH! GET THE LOBSTAH POT!!” and “ESTAH! GET THE HAIRDRYAH INSTEAD!!” Josh returns for the first episode of the New Year and ... yup, you guessed it, so does Estah.
It’s not all dick jokes in my line of work: This guide to safely cleaning up after a natural disaster in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Alma (but pre-Maria) is the most serious I’ve ever been asked to be, and I cried so many times while researching and writing it. Considering the massive losses endured just utterly floored me; having an abundance of empathy makes me great at my job, but man, it sure does make it tricky to, you know, live in this cruel world.
The New York Times let me publish a fridge-cleaning guide that included a reference to National Sneak A Zucchini Into Your Neighbor’s Porch Day AND four (4) exclamation points. BTW, the Easter egg for Jolie Kerr Superfans is that NSAZIYNPD is observed on August 8, which also happens to be ... yup! My birthday. #narcissistic #selfcentered #leo #onlychild
The Times asked me to do a reader Q&A in follow-up to my first piece for them — a massive guide to home cleaning. It turned out to be an overwhelming success; after putting out a call for queries at 9a on a Friday morning, they had fielded over 500 questions by the I arrived at the Times Building at 1p. But the best part was that my editor let me sneak a protein stain reference in, fully knowing exactly what it was I was up to.
Speaking of ridiculous things my editor allows me to get away with in a Q&A format, please admire my ability to let out my inner Cersei in a professional setting:
Thanks for joining me on this very weird journey through the world of a Clean Person 2017! I want to say thank you to everyone who trusted me with their questions and also to all the people who have offered words of kindness and support during an overly difficult year. I’m so grateful to be able to do this job, and I want to wish you all a very happy, healthy and clean 2018! xoJK