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If Superheroes Used Pressure Washers

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Have you ever wondered about the mystical powers of superheroes when they push at each other with some kind of invisible force? The movies depict it as blue or green lines (sometimes red). The hero increases the power and pushes the villain backward. Then the villain turns it up a notch, and the hero nearly falls.

The battle would look the same if each participant used a pressure washer. Instead of swirling colors, it would be a high pressure stream of water.

When my teenage daughter lamented about having to scrub pots and pans, I showed her the “power of the sprayer”—the sink sprayer that forces the gunk out of the dirty pan. I’ve used spray nozzles on garden hoses to clean things with pressure, but that was nothing compared to what happened when I used the pressure washer. My husband purchased one to wash the cars, and I yawned. Seemed like a waste of money.

Several years later, I decided to paint our pergola and discovered the “power of the sprayer.” He said I should pressure wash the boards before painting them. Okay. Whatever.

I removed all the sad grey boards from the pergola.

Then four at a time, I propped them on sawhorses and pressure washed away.

Under that grey, I discovered pretty redwood.

Who knew? The water blew off all the rot and the weak spots, leaving the part of the board that was strong. By the time I had finished, I was covered in backsplash—water, and bits of wood.

I thought I could rinse my hands in the spray. A stupid move on my part. It stung for the half-second I tried it. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Water is a powerful force. Think of the Grand Canyon.

Frank W. Otfeld II invented pressure washing in 1926, during prohibition. He was working on a whiskey still when he discovered that steam forced at high pressure through a small hose cleaned the grease off his garage floor. Seems like the most useful inventions come about by accidents and skirting around the law.

My pergola project turned out great. Then I used the pressure washer to clean the cement patio . . . and all the other outdoor wooden structures. My husband may never get it back.

I thought of all kinds of metaphors for life and hard times when the pressure washes away the bad stuff. But, more importantly, I realized how much the water spray looks like mystical superhero forces. Did their creators use this kind of thing as an example? I can well imagine.

So, let’s put pressure washers in the hands of the superhero and villain. It looks almost the same. Add a little food coloring to the water, and I could make movies.

Perhaps the tool makes me a superhero, too. Sure felt like It when I saw the pretty boards.

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