At the direction of Suzie-Q I was clearing the kitchen trash can. As I crushed an aluminum pop can and chucked it into the bag for recyclable pop cans I heard children voices in the background. “When I grow up, I want to be a park bench,” proclaimed the soothing child voice. With my back to the television, I thought that was an odd thing for a child to want to be. It was certainly not a lofty dream. I did get an image of a park bench with a senior citizen sitting there feeding the pigeons then I understood why a child might say that. Obviously, the child did not realize the frequency at which senior citizens fart.
Then I turned around to see a plastic water bottle was sharing its life’s dream with me. My garbage now has childlike innocence. It is a personality that no caring adult could ignore. It appears to have a soul and aspirations of greatness. It’s all American garbage with lofty goals. Well maybe not so lofty. I think if I was recyclable garbage I would want to be a space ship – if I had a mind and could form thoughts.
I was sitting in the garage putting on my work boots. The ones I wear for yard work. That’s as near to the rest of the house that Suzie-Q allows them. Nope, not even into the utility room that is only a few feet from the garage. Looking at them admiringly I saw some lime residue, some fertilizer, some dead grass and dirt. Macho boots with character I thought. Then it hit me. What if my boots were once one of those adorable little plastic water bottles? What horrors had I visited upon this innocent plastic bottle child? These are boots that have breathed lime dust, ingested weed killer, and endured heavy doses of really stinky deer repellant, in fact they still stink of it. They have stepped in feral cat crap that is nearly as disgusting as the deer repellant, but the cat crap wins for linger. The guilt I felt was almost too much to bear. I walked straight outside and hosed them off top to bottom. Then it hit me. What have I done? With the full force of my garden hose, I have washed this once innocent child water bottle with ice cold water. Do you reckon I’m in trouble? Do you reckon I should hit myself in the head with a chunk of firewood to jar me back to reality?
As I began my chores, I questioned the use of every machine and tool I used that day and could not help but wonder if one of those poor innocent pieces of child garbage may have grown up to become a manure spreader. The life of a manure spreader does not quite have the allure of say a park bench unless a wino pukes on it.
I am a little angry that someone decided to give my garbage personality. Don’t I have enough sensibilities of others in this overly sensitized world with which to concern myself? Why did you not make it a grumpy old curmudgeon? One who might say, “I was once a shiny 1969 Cadillac until they smashed me into a chunk of metal and dropped me into the metal shredder. Now, I sit here on a shelf as a can filled with stinking deer repellant – right next to the rodent poison. Life just isn’t fair. I would have been a happy pick-up truck. But nope, not me, I had to trade personality, character and that glorious new car smell for deer stank.”
When I finished my work, I grabbed the bottle of water Suzie-Q left on the back porch. I sat there and admired the little guy. I sipped the cooling water and felt refreshed. Then I crushed it flat, screwed the cap back on it and tossed it toward the recycle box. I looked at it and gave it some life advice, “I know you want to come back as something grand, but reality is that you are more likely to become a toilet seat.”
© 2017 J. D. Pendry