Coaching of 10 September 2016 delivered by: Paulo Silva
Adapted from: Ironing, by Andy Rooney

This morning I ironed a shirt. If you don’t think that’s worth mentioning, it’s either because you’ve never ironed one yourself or because you’re a lot better at it than I am.

There are jobs to be done in life that I’ll never master, and ironing is one of them. I enjoy the idea of pressing something to make it look better but as soon as I start, I remember all over again how impossible ironing is for me.

They’ve never made a shirt that doesn’t need ironing, no matter what it’s made of. All “permanent press” clothing needs pressing “Permanent Press” is as inaccurate as “one size fits all” or “no-stick frying pans”. One size doesn’t fit anybody, and when I cook in a no-stick Teflon pan and spray it with no-stick pass, things still stick.

It doesn’t have to be a shirt, though. I remember trying to iron a bedsheet once. Here’s this perfectly flat piece of cloth, free of pleats, buttons or irregularities of any kind, and I could not get the wrinkles out of it without ironing in more wrinkles than I was removing. Ironing pants is even harder than ironing shirts. If I make a mess of a shirt, I can always put a jacket on and cover most of my mistakes. Pants are right out there in the open where everyone can see them.

The only really major change in men´s clothing in my lifetime has been the elimination of cuffs on pants. It doesn’t seem like much. But if the time ever comes when the fashion people decide it would look good for men to wear pants white two creases up the front of each trouser leg, I iron my pants, I almost always end up with two creases, the old one and the new one. I just can’t hit that old crease with my iron.

I’m not at all satisfied with irons in many respects. We have one that is supposed to emit steam from little holes in the bottom, but at least once while I’m ironing, it gets some water it doesn’t like and spits it out all over my clothes.

And who decided what shape an iron should be? I don’t notice the dry cleaners using any thing like they sell us to use at home. I can do the left side of the front of my shirts with the iron. It’s when I get to the right front side, the side with the buttons, that I get into trouble. How do you get in between buttons there inches apart with an iron five inches wide? The pointy nose doesn’t help at all. The only part of a shirt I can really do a good job on is the shirttail – and no one sees that.

The shape of an ironing board isn’t any better than the shape of an iron. Most of what you’re trying to press hangs over the sides and pulls wrinkles into the doth you’re trying to smooth out. Our ironing board is too small to lay a pair of pants flat and too big for me to be able to slip the pant leg over the end.

If I was a spy who got caught and my captors wanted to make me talk, the most effective thing they could do is put me in a small room with a pile of shirts to iron. Before the day was over, I’d crack and tell them every thing they wanted to know.

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  • This was the text without being corrected. You should correct on the first and third paragragh: it’s THEY’VE , not “they’re”. And somewhere it’s AT ALL, not ‘ay all’.These are the typing mistakes that I remember.And there’s also part of a sentence missing.Sorry. The final text wasn’t available yesterday. Paulo Silva.

  • Thanks. The corrections pointed out here were made.

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