Thursday, September 4, 2008


I like to think of myself as a decent man. Although I'm far from perfect, I'm a devoted father and husband to my wife and kids. I work long hours in a restaurant, read countless books to my children, help with the dishes when I'm home, fix things that are broken, mow the yard before it's embarrassingly long, change the foulest of diapers, encourage my wife to get out of the house alone once in a while to maintain her facade of sanity, and I love every minute of it. But try as I may, I still have one significant downfall, an inherent character flaw that has troubled me since my youth. Garbage.

For as long as I can remember, it has been my job to take out the garbage. That foul, rank sack of stench that plagues kitchens around the globe. That which is unwanted, discarded, unused, forsaken, and cast out of our lives forever becomes my responsibility to get rid of once and for all. Why is this task so daunting? Who among us has not felt unwanted or had a love that was unrequited? Who among us has never been discarded and jilted by a lover? Who among us has not been forsaken, abandoned, given up?

In this consumer society, packaging alone comprises a great portion of our daily trash. I once spent seven hours contemplating the travels of a plastic water bottle. Where was it born? In a factory in Wisconsin? Where was it filled? At a beautiful mountain stream in eastern France? Was it sad to leave such a beautiful place, even though it bore the fruit of their union in fulfillment of it's own divine purpose? Did it travel by boat, plane, rail car, and truck to find me in the parking lot of a Grateful Dead concert? Was this a significant moment in the life of that water bottle, or just really good LSD? Whatever it was, it didn't last forever, and I'm ashamed to admit that when it was over, I threw that bottle into the trash for someone else to dispose of, once and for all.

Perhaps it was this experience (and the guilt and shame that I bear to this day as a result) that makes it difficult for me to "kick it to the curb", so to speak. Perhaps this is why my lovely wife has to remind me ad nauseum to take out the garbage before I leave for work. I know it bothers her. I know she doesn't enjoy repeating herself. I know she doesn't want to harp on me. Still, she does it anyway, because I leave her no choice. Perhaps I'm reluctant to sentence those derelict objects to life in the landfill. Or perhaps I'm just forgetful. I think of myself as a decent man. Even decent men have their faults. Mine is forgetting to take out the garbage.


RJA said...

I can take the garbage out at 10 o'clock at night, after my four kids are in bed, and then everyone will leave the house first thing the next morning. And when I get home from work at about 5:30, the can is full of garbage. I'm not sure what happens there during the day when I'm gone.

Blaine Morgan said...

I'm imagining multiplying my trash by two. I'm now imagining buying more trash cans.

Michael said...

I'm the garbage man at home too. My wife REFUSES to take out the garbage. The closest she got to the can on the side of the house was putting the trash bag on the front porch. She forgot to tell me this and I found it on the porch the next day which I promptly put in the trash can. The NEXT day I go to put in more trash...MAGGOTS EVERYWHERE! The bag she left on the porch (which was opened BTW) had become an orgy den for flies and their brood spawned in the can. It was so gross, I dry heaved for two days.