(Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

I would never want to make an enemy of retired Adm. William H. McRaven. With his highly specialized Navy SEAL training, McRaven could slip silently into my bedroom and dispatch me with extreme prejudice.

He’d be choppering back to an aircraft carrier before my body even hit the floor.

But why, in this outlandish and violent scenario, would McRaven want to take me out in the first place?

Because I didn’t make my bed.

Last week in this space I recounted the freedom I’ve felt since learning that some experts believe that leaving bedsheets exposed to light during the day — i.e., not making the bed — kills dust mites that live there. I heard from many readers, some of whom wondered what McRaven would think of this. After all, his 2014 commencement address at the University of Texas stressed the importance of bed-making.

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” McRaven told the graduates. “It will give you a small, simple pride and encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

Added McRaven, “If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.”

That speech went viral and became the genesis of his 2017 book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe the World.”

Even if you don’t want to change the world, there are other reasons to make the bed. James Wingo of Woodbine, Md., wrote: “If you have ever owned cats who like to sleep in the bed, you learn quick to at least make an attempt to throw the covers back on. Waking up covered in cat hair doesn’t fly.”

The District’s Thomas M. Sneeringer said he’ll continue to make his bed, even if that does encourage dust mites to breed. A properly made bed, he wrote, “becomes the only large unoccupied horizontal surface in the house, available for folding clothes, sorting papers or just general inspection and reorganization of stuff. The 12-hour window of availability also promotes task completion, sometimes.”

For Frank Dundee of Boardman, Ohio, insisting that the bed be made is one of those “household truisms that are not only useless, but most often are bad for your health,” not unlike the way that rinsing a turkey before cooking it doesn’t eliminate bacteria, just spreads them everywhere.

Wrote Frank: “I concede that a made-bed looks neater, just like a surgeon’s manicured fingernails look neat and hygienic, as he contaminates the patient with antibiotic-resistant staph because he didn’t wash up properly before surgery.

“I say ‘Bravo’ to you for having the laziness … er … I mean the gumption to stand up for hygiene over form!”

Douglas R. Thompson of Hyattsville, Md., is the youngest of four brothers, none of whom wanted to make their beds. “My father demanded we do, but my mother sided with us,” he wrote. “And so the entire day went by with a house full of unmade beds, including my parents’ bed … until about 4:30 p.m.”

That’s when their mother would yell, “Boys, get upstairs and make your beds. Your father will be home in 15 minutes!”

Wrote Douglas: “It still defeated the purpose, but at least we could all feel like rebels of sorts. Including my mother.”

It isn’t just Navy SEALs who have to make their beds. The District’s Toni Smiley attended boarding school in Massachusetts. When the 6 a.m. bell rang, the girls had to get up, carefully fold the sheets and blankets down to the bottom of the bed, straighten them and tightly tuck in the bottom sheet.

“Then we had to slide open a window one foot,” Toni wrote. “While we were downstairs eating breakfast, one of the student ‘cops’ went to each room to check on the beds and window. If it was not perfectly done, we would receive a demerit.”

That school was the Northfield School for Girls, which later merged with a boys school across the Connecticut River. Wrote Toni: “They say Bette Davis was kicked out for swimming across the river one night for a late date. Or maybe because she left her bed unmade.”

Helping Hand

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The three local charities that Post readers support — Friendship Place, Miriam’s Kitchen and Bread for the City — all work to end hunger and homelessness in Washington. Your contribution will help that effort.

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Read more from John Kelly.