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John Eggers: Have you ever wondered if lint make any sense?

I was going to write about something having to do with leadership, but then I thought, that’s kind of boring, so I am going to write about something near and dear to our hearts —lint. Yes, lint is much more interesting to read about than leadership.

Did you ever wonder where all the lint goes? After all of these years of wearing clothes and drying clothes and brushing clothes, you would think we would be up to our navels in lint. Our navels aren’t big enough to store all the lint, so where does it go?

Speaking of navels, the older I get the more difficult it is to get lint out of my navel. Have you noticed that? I suppose it’s because navels are surrounded by all of this extra skin in the form of, well, it rhymes with “cat.” If I got rid of the stuff that rhymes with “cat,” would I have less lint?

Do you think cats have lint? I know they have dandruff but I don’t think they have lint. Cats do one thing that humans don’t do, they clean themselves with their tongue and on their tongues are little bristles. Do you suppose the person who invented the lint removal brush got the idea from a cat’s tongue? I doubt if the cat received any royalties for the idea.

Maybe if the Creator had made humans with bristles on their tongues, we wouldn’t have as much lint to worry about.

I don’t worry too much about lint — most men don’t. For women, however, lint can be painful. One piece of stray lint on black slacks or a black sweater could ruin an entire church service or dinner with friends. “Are you sure there is no lint on my pants?” my wife asks. “What about my sweater, did I get that piece off?”

I will admit lint is hard to remove. Lint comes with a special kind of adhesive. If we could create it, it would put Elmer’s Glue out of business. You can brush and brush and brush and a piece will move about a quarter of an inch. My wife always carries a roll of masking tape in the car just in case she missed a piece at home. Lint does not cotton to masking tape. (Pardon the pun.)

The only really kind of efficient collectors of lint in our homes are the clothes dryer. What did people use to remove lint before clothes dryers? To be honest, I don’t think lint was invented until the last quarter century. In a 1950s dictionary, you won’t find the word “lint”.

I think the first person to discover that lint actually existed was a woman named Becky Jo Lint in 1959. Psychiatrists couldn’t discover why she was always so depressed and then they discovered it was because of this extra stuff they found on her clothes and they named it after her, “lint.” Lots of people suffer from “Lintphobia,” which I will discuss later.

I think there is a profit to be made in lint. It’s so soft, kind of colorful, and weighs less than a bird’s feather. (By the way, birds don’t have lint either.) Here are some possible uses for lint.

— 1. It could be sold to campers for starting their campfire. It’s better than birch bark. The problem is that you would need about a bushel of it.

— 2. It could be used to stuff sleeping bags. It may be better than down feathers. The problem is you would need a semi load or more.

— 3. Lint can be used for Halloween costumes. Beginning now, save all of your lint until next year and be the first one to dress up like a piece of lint. If it is a windy night, forget it. Also, don’t go near any masking tape.

— 4. If a hairpiece is too expensive for you, make a wig out of lint. You have to admit that some of those English and French aristocrats had hairpieces that resembled a large piece of lint.

— 5. Trying to grow hair, paste strands of lint on your scalp.

— 6. Bemidji could claim to have the world’s largest lint ball if we all saved our lint and donated it to the Chamber of Commerce. We could put it right next to Babe. Can’t you see it now? “Come to Bemidji and see the world’s largest ball of lint.” We could become the No. 1 tourist attraction in the state all because of the lint that is being tossed away by the baskets full every day.

Well, those are some ways we could use lint. I bet school kids could think of many more ways. We could have a writing contest and award the winner a used clothes dryer with lots of lint in the lint catcher.

Returning to Lintphobia. All of those people who belong to nudist colonies are Lint Phobes or “Lintees” as they call themselves. I suppose if we all walked in their footsteps, we could do away with lint but then who would be left in Bemidji. Nudist colonies in Bemidji during the winter, I don’t think so.

I guess lint has a purpose after all. Because of lint we can inhabit cold climates. Does that make any sense? Not really, but neither does lint.

JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.