Not to be confused with this, the more commonly used "trash" rag. The jake rag is the Swiss Army knife of linen. The term is used at UMass and its source is believed to be Leominster, Massachusetts. Though the term may be UMass-specific, virtually every dorm room has a jake rag, in some incarnation or other.
So what is it? Usually it's a dirty towel, in keeping with Hitchhiker's Guide ethos. However, it may also be an old sweatshirt, bedsheet, or pillowcase. Socks and t-shirts are usually too small to be of much use.
Uses of Said Item
- Emergency cleaning: For a quick-and-dirty cleanup, the jake rag is extremely useful. Sometimes it just takes way too long to assemble the Swiffer to mop up someone's vomitus. Also useful for cleaning fouler excreta and secreta. Usually, depending on the circumstance and the bohemian/OCD personality ratio of the room's occupants, a more through cleaning/sterilization process will be conducted later.
- Masking: Another important issue, especially in non-smoking dorms (or when consuming some verboten substance), the jake rag may be placed at the gap between the door and the floor, blocking airflow from escaping the room. Now, some dorm rooms may have a skirting on the door, but usually they don't, for this very reason. The jake rag seals the room up and keeps suspicious R.A.'s and narks at bay.
- Protection: "Protection" in the sense of minimizing the deleterious effects of incontinence, usually (hopefully) induced by a heavy night of drinking. Kind of like a drunk's Depends. One comes home in a severely inebriated state. They are about to pass out. But someone, in the back of one's head, flickers the possibility of bed-wetting. How does one prevent contact, at least direct contact with the sheets? Simple: Place the jake rag over your groin.
- Makeshift Pillow: Hopefully, this is the jake rag's virgin use. It is not recommended, for sanitary/aesthetic reasons, to use it after one of the preceding uses. In case one gets in a fight with a visiting significant other, who won't share the tiny, twin-sized bed, the jake rag prevents neck pain and a restless night by offering the head some support. It also prevents contact with the cold, gungy floor.
- Toga Party: Yes, these hackneyed events actually do take place. Like the previous entry, it is suggested that this is the first use of the jake rag.
- Patching: The jake rag can be used to plug up gaps to the outside, in case of broken windows or screens.
- Riot Fuel: Did the Yankees beat the Red Sox again? Start a fire? The jake rag may make excellent fuel, at least initially. Later on, t-shirts of the opposing sports team are suggested.
Well, these are just some of the uses. Of course, the are many permutations developed by cunning college minds.
This is important. There are several methods that you can use to successfully sterilize or get rid of your jake rag:
- Outright Disposal: This is a common method, indeed it is the suggested method. Just throw it away and don't look back. In retrospect then, it should be noted that you shouldn't use anything you won't miss.
Let's say you want to keep it. Here are some procedures you can try, depending on the severity of use. It may be good to save everything, but sometimes, ending is better than mending.