Monday, November 9, 2009

MARK’S ARTICLE -- November 9, 2009
“Trash Talk”

If you don’t mind, I thought we’d talk some trash. Never in the history of civilization has there been so much of it. We haul it into the house practically every day. And, some of it can really hurt.

See this? No, what are you lookin’ at? On my thumb! Right, Sherlock, it’s a cut. I got it while trying to open a contraption that housed a curtain rod. We have packages for curtain rods! Can you believe that? Oh, and I’m sorry about the “Sherlock” remark. I get a bit testy when I talk trash. Yeah, that’s gonna get old.

There was a time when you could go to the store and grab a curtain rod or a stopper gun or flashlight; take ‘em home and use ‘em without performing an intricate operation. You bought a naked curtain rod with a price tag on it. That’s it.

Now, all items come with a form fitting, heavy see-through plastic that sticks out four times the product’s size. And, the “plastic” has the tensile strength of titanium treated carbide steel. And, no, I have no idea what tensile strength or carbide means. Work with me.

Point is, you could drive a Humvee over the curtain rod and it would completely destroy it, but you still couldn’t open the package. It’s tougher than dried elephant snot. I read where that’s pretty tough. Bushmen use it to protect their spear points. -- What? Yeah, I couldn’t think up a good “tough” comparison. Uh, metaphor? I don’t know.

Every other time we buy an open-proof packaged product I say to Kay, “How do they think some old lady’s gonna open this?” My thumbs bleeding and I’m developing a severe eye twitch. All the while, I’m thinking of a poor grandmotherly-type yanking and pulling and gumming at the plastic demon. She eventually sits down at the kitchen table and weeps. Just breaks my heart.

By the way, after I stopped the bleeding, I tried to throw the rod containers into our tallest indoor garbage can. When I stand up in the thing it hits me mid-gut. (Don’t ask.) Yet, the slashed rod containers would not fit. Too tall. To get ‘em in, I’d hafta cut ‘em, both in two. I refused. They’re out there by the curb sticking out of a black trash bag.

By the way, there are 11 garbage cans in our house. Two people and 11 trash cans. Every Monday and Thursday morning I walk around and empty each can into a large trash bag. I seldom inspect the contents of the cans. The trash is bound to come from stuff we brought into the house. If not, I’m gonna freak.

When I was growing up, we only had two garbage cans in our house. Nine people and two garbage cans. One in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. We didn’t create all that much garbage back then. What we couldn’t eat we made into household items. “Don’t throw that broken clothes pin away. I’ll make a measuring spoon out of it.” – “But, Mom, I want it for a doll.” We were so desperate.

We got no junk mail. Everything was either a bill or letter from one of the aunts. Boring mail. If Mom hadn’t been living with us, I doubt anyone would’ve ever retrieved it.

Yes, it was a different time. Not necessarily better, just less trashy. Back then you could buy a lawnmower without cutting it out of a giant box. A ballpoint? “Hey, it’s in a jar over there. Grab one.” A TV remote? “It’s right—“ Oh, yeah, they hadn’t been invented. Like I say, it wasn’t necessarily a better time, but stuff was sure easier to get to. That’s all I’m sayin’.

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1 comment:

  1. Elephant snot... I bet that's true. Good article Moke. I do remember less trash back then.
    Is it tougher to get into packages nowadays because of stealing? Because there are more now and some are less trustworthy, and things have to be protected so they're not so easily removed from the stores without people paying for them? That's the sad thing about it. Do you think that's the bottom line?
    Poor, sweet Ma would just have to wait for one of you guys to come over and open it for her.