Daily Beef: Trash is Trash No Matter Who Throws it Away

Don’t be Stupid.

That’s what she said, when I tried to throw the food away. It was part of a wrong order we’d driven home with. We’d separated the parts out that we were going to take back to get remade. The bag was all set up, ready to go back, and then she puts the fries back into the bag. I said “keep those fries, they’re just going to throw them away.” She says “that’s too many fries. I can’t eat that many fries.” So I turned to the trashcan to throw them away myself. That’s when she said it. Don’t be stupid.

Any restaurant you return food to throws that food away. They aren’t allowed to do anything else with that food other than throw it away. So throwing it away yourself if you don’t need it as proof of an order filled incorrectly is perfectly acceptable, especially if you don’t want to be tempted to eat two giant boxes of french fries. You should just throw them away. What else are you going to do?

What if they want the whole order back?

Really? The whole order? Well then, I guess I’ll have to go back for those fries I threw away. Here, I can get you that handful I ate right now, just give me a second. The whole order, sheesh. Don’t be stupid.

When I got angry at being told I was being stupid, she accuses me of wanting her to eat all the fries. I don’t recall saying anything beyond “just keep the fries”. I said just keep ’em because they will throw them away anyway. Then she told me to shut up. Don’t ever tell me to shut up. Don’t tell any writer to be silent or you will probably regret it. That simply isn’t in the cards for you, having that order followed. Writers do not shut up. We will get even, eventually.

This is a common refrain in the household. “You love to throw things away.” I do not love to throw things away. I simply will throw things away, even perfectly good items that someone might have a use for somewhere on the planet. There is so much cheap plastic shit around me on any given day, I’m sure someone could have a use for some of this plastic somewhere. But I don’t know who they are, and in the meantime I need the counter space for something else. I need the counter, and there isn’t any place else to store cheap plastic stuff that we can’t use anywhere else in the house. There was, but all those places are full now.

So I throw that shit in the recycler, if I can. If it can’t be recycled, even if I think it should be recyclable, I throw that stuff away. I throw it away because someone has to throw it away and I don’t see why that someone can’t be me. If being willing to be that someone makes me into some kinda discard-a-philic ne’er do well, I can live with that.

What I can’t live with is being told to shut up when my reasoning is totally sound. Discard that food you don’t want to eat because it will make you fat unless there is a starving person sitting right next to you or somewhere you can easily get to right now. You do not (repeat, DO NOT) have to leave that food in the refrigerator until it grows green mold on it . You can just throw that shit away right now. It will get moldy somewhere else eventually.

Ketchup packets. Tartar sauce packets. Soy sauce packets. Sweet sauce packets. Throw them all away unless you are planning a weekend barbecue and want condiments for that shindig. In any case, you can throw those hot mustard packets out right the fuck now. No human will consume those. That is how you can tell if the person across from you is secretly a lizard wearing human skin. If they eat any mustard other than French’s yellow mustard, they are an alien. Set phasers to liquify and fire when ready.

Barrels of old fortune cookies. Crates of wrapped plastic tableware. Containers of flour that were milled in 1850, from the looks of ’em. Unopened boxes of cereal that you’ve saved since you were a child. Dressers full of clothes that you will never wear. Rooms full of furniture that you can’t bear to part with. This is why the roadsides across America are a never ending series of self-storage units interspersed with supermarkets and strip malls. You have to have a place to store all the shit you won’t throw away, and you have to have places to buy the stuff you need to replace the shit you put in storage. Then you’ll need more self-storage, and the cycle repeats until you are crushed under the piles of magazines that you might need to look something up in one day and so don’t haul off to one of the dozens of storage units that you rent.

Now you are dead, and something has to be done with all your shit. So your relatives, if they aren’t stupid, will call an estate sales agent. Your relatives don’t want to go through your shit any more than you did, and they’ll just find more stuff that they can’t bear to let go. Their storage rooms are already full of their stuff. So the estate sales agent will go through your shit and throw away what can’t be sold and sell the rest. I suggest you shortcut the process. Call an estate sales agent yourself before you are crushed. When they ask who died say,

“No one died. I just want you to take all this shit in my house and get rid of it. Also? Don’t tell me where it goes or whether you had to throw any of it away.”

Then you can just go out and buy new stuff. Problem solved.

I’ve ranted on this before. I’m surprised it was only once before.

Important Stuff

Spent the last two weeks in the final stages of getting a long-time friend moved out of her townhome and into assisted living. Well actually, I moved her stuff (as the master, George Carlin, refers to it) not the essential stuff, but the general stuff that anyone collects over the course of life. Stuff that you think you want when you buy it, but end up having no place for when it comes right down to it, because of all the other stuff you already have. Stuff that people give to you, or that you inherit, and you just can’t bring yourself to part with; because, well, it’s sort of their stuff too, right?

The final stage of the move has taken two weeks, the entire process has drug on for several months (I can’t even remember when it started, myself) and over the time I’ve spent sorting, organizing, packing and selling, I’ve come to realize one very important thing. Stuff accumulates in your life that really isn’t important stuff, but it takes the place of other stuff that is important. And that is bad stuff. So, I’m going to start getting rid of my own bad stuff now, and save someone else the trouble later.

I’m going through every item in my house and apply my old measuring stick to it. If there’s any doubt about the immediate usefulness of stuff (as in, I wouldn’t want to carry this stuff across a thousand miles of desert) then out it goes. If you don’t do this every now and then, the bad stuff will just bury you alive, apparently. And that’s not a pretty way to go, buried alive in a pile of stuff that you didn’t really need but can’t get out from under.