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By May 19, 2015Philosophy

Armed with a bucket, sponge, soap, hose and time. I washed my car today. Using as little water as possible. And watching out the entire time for the patrolling water police. Not that washing your car is a criminal act, as far as I know, but it felt like it. Then I waxed it.

Hardly rocket science, but the process became a sort of mental exercise. It got me thinking about the philosophy of car washing and waxing and the people who do and don’t do it. I came to these conclusions.

Car washing exposes three classes of people:

  1. You wash your own car, because you’re frugal or particular.
  1. You take your car to a car wash, because you can and you’re basically lazy.
  1. You work at a car wash and wash other people’s car all day long, because college wasn’t for you and the tips are good.

At one time or another, I’ve experienced each class first-hand. So I speak with some authority when I only half-ironically reference Karl Marx, “From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.”

(Yeah I know I’m forgetting the forth class: You simply don’t give a crap about washing your car.)


In deference to Mr. Miyagi’s character-building wax-on wax-off wisdom for the Karate Kid, three distinct qualities are reflected in a freshly applied coat of wax:

  1. You wax your own car, which suggests you’re resourceful and proud.
  1. You compliment the gleaming coat of wax someone else just applied to their car and are suitably impressed with the effort, which suggests you’re thoughtful and attentive.
  1. You “admire” someone else’s just completed work but feel compelled to point out the tiny spot that was missed, which means you … are a tool. (And, you should make better use of your free time by reading The Communist Manifesto and watching “The Karate Kid.”)



  • Tracy Huddleson says:

    From a lazy “fourth-classer,” I love the results but am too lazy to achieve it. My husband is resigned to doing it all for me. Hats off to your diligence, I’m sure it is a meditative exercise too!

  • Gary says:

    I have fond memories of my summer at Harv’s Carwash. Ode to Piper.

  • Tiffany Paige says:

    Point three in Waxing and Waning gave me a good chuckle, and brought back memories of Ralph Macchino at his finest, second only to The Outsiders. In car washing, I bounce between 1 and 2 (both versions) depending on how the fundraising-in-the-non-profit-world is treating me.

  • Definitely a 1…..have never taken my car to a carwash… and also a 3 as I detailed cars when in high school to make some cash to spend on golfing and the race track, when gas was <$0.50/gal

  • Teri Kirksey says:

    You got me. I’m in that 4th class. I now feel the need to wash my car…Shaming has it’s effects. Thanks Stuart… Waxing? oh hell no.

  • James says:

    I wash my own car, because i’m frugal or particular. Thanks Stuart!

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