Garbage in, garbage out

It's Trash Day once again.

Why don't we get the day off? Why isn't it a holiday? Sure, a holiday once or twice a week may sound like a lot, but we're worth it. Making trash is the one thing most of us are really good at, and yet we never get any recognition for it.

Think of all the jobs we create: the trash collectors, the people who make those noisy trash trucks, the people who make trash bags and wastebaskets, all our friends who work at the landfills ... It must be like Christmas every day for them, while we, the trash-making public, never even get so much as a proper thank-you.

I'm starting to wonder why I even have to put my garbage in a bag and take it all the way out to the curb. Really, I should just let the trash collectors come into the house and take whatever they want. Mi garbage es su garbage. It would save an entire step by cutting out the middleman -- me. And there's no doubt that they would do a better job of it than I do.

"Why are you keeping this ugly thing?" they might ask, pointing to a large "decorative" vase -- the vase that would be the first thing to go on that show where they redecorate your house with new junk while you're out of town. I'd tell them that Aunt Millie gave it to us. She'd be upset if it wasn't on display when she came to visit.

"Tell her we chucked it," they'd say, end of problem. And by letting the trash collectors take control, the savings could be passed on to the trash-producing taxpayers.

Why do Sue and I have so much stuff to throw out in the first place? Part of it is shopping at the big box stores, where I "save" money buying three of something instead of just one, or by buying a giant box of something instead of the normal size. I have more food in the house than a doomsday prepper, not because I think the world is on the brink, but because it was all such a good deal. It may compost before I have time to eat it all.

It's cutting into our living space. We have trash cans in every room in the house, and by trash day, they are all full. Can you imagine how much floss it must take to fill the can in the bathroom? What else is there to toss away? Yet the one on my side of the sink is always full -- of Sue's garbage. She must sneak it in while I'm asleep.

Maybe we have more garbage than most because I work at home. After a day at the computer, it seems that all I've generated is a wastebasket full of crumpled notes. I write these inspired notes to myself in the middle of the night, but then they read like refrigerator poetry the next morning. "Metal socks, darn it!" What? At 3 a.m., that was hilarious to me. At 9 a.m., it's in the shredder.

When I empty the shredder's bin into a trash bag, it reminds me of all the ticker tape parades they used to have when I was a kid. There seemed to be one every week. Not anymore. For one thing, there is no ticker tape anymore, and for another, you can't open any of the windows on the modern buildings on Broadway. And who would you hold a parade for, anyway? Is there anyone worth throwing our garbage out a window for?

A lot of trash comes not from the stuff we buy, but from what it's packed in. I ordered a ski helmet via catalog a few years ago. When the box came, I found the helmet wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap. If a ski helmet can't make it through the mail without bubble wrap, what happens when it hits a tree with my head inside it?

So I left the bubble wrap on. Sure, people laugh at me on the bunny hill, but hey -- safety first.

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