120. Cleaning a Dirty Plate

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It was a white, plain-looking dinner plate, with no adornment. The brand name was Corelle, a popular brand made by Corning. On the bottom of the plate, in addition to "Corelle" and "Corning," was the following text: "Microwave SafeóNot for Broiler or Stovetop Use."

Although now they were hard to find, all of his plates were the same brand and the same color. He had bought these plates, years ago, for two reasons. One, food cannot easily stick to or "hide" on unadorned plates. Therefore, they are easier to clean. Two, white plates show stains more clearly than colored or decorated plates. Stains you can see are stains you can clean. He had the same philosophy about silverware. He bought knives, forks, and spoons that had no ornamentation.

Standing at the kitchen sink, he turned on the cold water faucet. He picked up the dinner plate in his left hand. He grabbed the pad with his right hand. Dishwashing soap was already on the pad. He wet the pad and started scrubbing the plate. There was a stain in the middle of this plate, about six inches across. It went all around the plate, just inside of where the plate curved upwards.

This light brown stain had been growing for months. Today, he was going to get rid of it once and for all. He scrubbed. He scrubbed some more. He rinsed the plate off. The stain was still there. He added more soap to the pad. He scrubbed some more. All of a sudden, because the plate and his hands were so soapy and he was scrubbing with such force, the plate flew out of his hands. It didn't land softly on the seat cushion of the dining room chair. Instead, it crashed into the metal arm rest of the chair. Each of the four pieces on the floor was about the same size.


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