Tuesday, November 23, 2010
one size does not fit all...
Every time I mop the floor with our sponge mop, I argue with it, that it doesn't fit. Sponge mops are made for women of a height of 5 ft. 6 in. or so, and a 6 foot man is too tall to find comfort in the use of the tool. I have to bend over too far, and having googled and found no extenders available I made one myself. It is turned on the lathe with a 4 inch end sized to fit tightly in the inside of the mop handle, and with the remaining 10 inches extending its length. I used J-B Weld inside the metal tube to secure the wood extension in place, and now, for the first time ever, I can stand up to my full height as I do my part of the weekly housecleaning. The handle extender is so simple I'm surprised they don't sell them at Walmart.
Beside the discomfort of bending over, there is a study described in Scientific American ...and Posture's Effect on Testosterone that sheds light on the relationship between male posture and development of the male hormone testosterone. Not only is being bent over a mop considered "unmanly" by some, it is also a posture that extends unmanliness throughout your life, through its effects on your hormonal balance. Mopping while extended to your full height may have beneficial effects while being bent over in subservience to the mop will not.
At one time, tools were made to fit the person using them. An example in the drawing above comes from Rudolph Drillis' article "Folklore and Biomechanics, Human Factors, October 1963. It makes me wonder, how often things are designed for the convenience of the manufacturer or the convenience of the shipper, and not the ease of actual use by the intended user. Believe me, many things are made to sell to you without the actual you in mind. Rudolph J. Drillis had done an interesting study of ergonomics involving the peasants of Latvia that resulted in illustrations like the one above. There is a relationship between conviviality and our tools. Are tools shaped to fit, allowing us to convey a sense of joy through work, or are they awkward to the body distorting both the body and attitude as work is done? It is said that a poor craftsman blames his tools. Perhaps that is true. A craftsman may have the wherewithal to fix what is wrong with his (or her) tools and thus become an even better craftsman, or in this case, a more proficient floor mopper.