What was your first thought when you read the title of this post? Green, as in jealous? Yellow, as in cowardly?
That’s not what I’m talking about.
Yep. I’m talking about sponges. You see, when I grab the sponge at my sink and start washing a cup or a dish, I go straight for the green side. Scratchy, rough and tough — guaranteed to get the grunge out.
I use the green side first and I use it 98% of the time. Why? Because it gets the job done and gets it done faster than the yellow side.
Isn’t that a little harsh?
What about my Teflon and non-stick surfaces? Doesn’t the green side scratch up my dishes?
My dishes are quite safe. Because I don’t buy dishes that can’t handle the green side of the sponge. Why buy some namby-pamby dish that I will have to coddle for the rest of its existence?
When it comes to tools and the accessories of daily life, I am looking for things that can handle the pressures of life. Heavy, solid pots. Unbreakable plates. Solid glassware. In other words, I want dishes I can scrub with the green side. Something that will last.
It doesn’t stop in the kitchen.
The second thing that hit me today is that I feel this way about other things in life. I don’t have namby-pamby friends. They don’t disappear at the first sign of a rough day. They’re tough and courageous and get the job done. They dig in and do what it takes to overcome obstacles and make the world a better place.
We encourage each other to be tough and keep the faith. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) Notice, it’s not wood sharpening wood or cotton sharpening cotton. It’s iron. Tough stuff.
Of course, using the green side of the sponge doesn’t mean I’m always scrubbing the heck out of something. One learns to use only the amount of force necessary to accomplish the job.
Even so, this can be taken too far. I have a protagonist in one of my stories that not only uses the green side of the sponge on people, he’s more of a stainless steel scrubber sponge. If there’s a layer of grunge somewhere, he’ll scrape it off and it won’t always be pleasant. He rubs a lot of people the wrong way. He even leaves scratches on solid metal folks. And if you’re a bloodsucking hemavore, he’d as likely kill you as look at you. Heh. That’s too rough, though he doesn’t think so.
What about the yellow side?
Isn’t it time I take the metaphor to the other side of the sponge? Hmm… What’s the yellow side good for? Well, you’ve got me there.
How about some of you yellow-side folks speak up for the softer, gentler side of the sponge?
I’d also be tickled to hear a good defense of those funky blue sponges that supposedly don’t scratch your non-stick surfaces and are “safe” for anything. Safe, sure — but do they get the job done?
Leave a comment below!
Suz · at
Actually, I was thinking of bell peppers when I read green and yellow. Most probably because I just planted my vegetable garden!
As for the yellow side of the sponge? It’s firmly connected to the green side. After the harsh scrubbing of everyday nonsense and life’s supposed truths and other attacks, the yellow side is the soft soothing fellowship which comes in resting after iron sharpens iron.
We can’t scrub all the time. There has to be room for wallowing in the friendship and grace of our friends.
Deppner · at
Beautiful flip side of the coin — er, sponge, Suz. I knew somebody would have the inspiration to flesh out the rest of this metaphor!
There’s one thing I use the yellow side for, every time. Wiping down the counters and cleaning up spills. That’s the side that soaks up the liquid. That’s the side that wipes off the dust.
I suppose you could say that I am softer on shallow, surface encounters. I absorb the messes. Sometimes I’ll go back for a second pass to scrub the extra dirty spots… but only if it seems like the right thing to do. The metaphor breaks down a bit when I’m talking about scrubbing somebody else instead of my own mess!
Bethany A. Jennings · at
I use those blue sponges and I love them! They work marvelously on my non-stick pans. (Granted, non-stick pans don’t need a heavy amount of scrubbing to wipe clean, but the blue sponges have always been great.)
I think in life I’m a yellow side sponge, haha. I’m not abrasive (or I try not to be!) and I always work to be gentle with everyone. 🙂
Deppner · at
And we love you for it, Bethany!
I’ve learned a lot over the years, and softened my approach. Most acquaintances will find me really easy going and gentle. But deep down, I find that I still relate more to the green side. It was a funny realization, one of those random thoughts a writer has in her kitchen.
Jenna B. · at
I’m so honored to be one of your “non-namby-pamby” friends!! <3
On that note:
Enjoy SpongeBob's abrasive side!
Deppner · at
LOL! I had no idea. Thanks for adding the pop-culture reference. I can count on you to know all things SpongeBob…
Thea van Diepen · at
For me, it depends on the situation. In our house, we have a cloth, a green sponge, and a metal scrubber. I prefer the cloth, but some jobs require the green sponge and I do quite like using it. That said, if the pot or whatever can handle it and the job would be served better by a metal scrubber, out comes the metal scrubber.
So, in terms of interacting with people: the more powerful stuff gives me a thrill to use because of its efficiency, which means I love it when I can use it, but I try not use it when the situation isn’t appropriate and the person involved would be torn down rather than built up by it. Which means I can tend on the gentler side when I shouldn’t, but I’m getting better at that, and really enjoying the process of learning how to be more effective in dealing with people. 🙂