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I WANTED to put the pflegespulung sticker on the container for conditioner. That’s what the word meant. At the top of each row of labels that came with the shower organizer was an English word — shampoo, conditioner, soap and body wash — with linguistic variations below. I liked the foreignness of the word, the way it sounded, the way it rolled off my tongue.
He was opposed. I had let him put the shampoo sticker on the container that held shampoo so it was only fair that I be able to choose the other. It’s stupid, he said. Who knows what pflegespulung is? I said we would know. He asked what would happen if guests stayed over and wanted to wash their hair. I replied that hadn’t happened and if it did we would tell them what it was. I told him visitors would find it amusing.
He refused and I persisted. He had no sense of fun. He needed everything orderly. He needed everything known.
One day I took off the conditioner sticker and put on the one that said pflegespulung. That night I noticed it had been removed. The next day I printed off six sheets of 60 labels with the word pflegespulung on each. Every morning I pressed a label onto the container that held the conditioner. Every night it was gone. After a year I printed more labels.