A short satirical piece I wrote on the issue of homelessness in America.
| Andrew Cardenas
Taking Out the Trash
A man is sitting on a bus. His clothes are tattered, his skin is streaked with grime, and he reeks of sweat and liquor and urine. The man rocks nervously in his seat, twirling his matted black hair with one grimy index finger, rambling incoherently, quietly to himself. As the bus comes to a stop, his empty, cloudy eyes make contact with yours, if only for a moment, before he stumbles off the crowded vehicle onto the grey sidewalk, and then promptly sits down again.
Encounters with homeless people are often disconcerting to us. They evoke emotions ranging from pity to fear to anger. They make us ask questions about our society. How does the richest country in the world allow some of its citizens to reach such a level? Why is there so little help--medical and social--for the mentally ill? What could have happened in this poor person's life that made it so no one wanted to take care of him or so that he was unable to take care of himself?
But more than anything, thinking about the homeless really "bums" us out. In fact, most of us would rather not think about any of those questions if at all possible.
I think I have found a way to make that possible. Where do we put everything else that we never want to think about ever again? The trash. Where does the trash go? The dump. So since we already treat the homeless like pieces of trash that we never want to see again, why don't we just send all of them to the dump!
Now I know what you're thinking: "Gee, how did I never come up with that?" But also, "How would we ever be able to round up all of those homeless people and convince them to go live in a dump?" I say that they have no reason not to want to live in a dump! First, they already live in such squalor that they would hardly notice any difference; second, landfills are full of uneaten food. Environmentalists are always talking about how we waste so much perfectly good food by throwing it away; with hundreds of thousands of ravenous hobos running around in our landfills, there would hardly be a scrap left to waste ever again! Plus, they would never feel lonely or ostracized because they would be surrounded by people just like them whom they could ramble nonsensically to all day long; I bet a lot of them have a ton of interesting and exciting stories, I mean look at how many of them are veterans! All that would have to be done is for sanitation crews to spread the word on their rounds and most of those greasy bums would beg to be picked up along with the rest of the refuse. The idea practically sells itself.
And think of how much better the rest of our lives would be if we sent all of the homeless away. Without the homeless, inner city property values would skyrocket. Our curbsides and alleyways would be clean and safe, and the sight of a person begging for change or food or clothes would never ruin our good moods again. And should anybody else fall on hard times and lose their home, we would just send them off to the landfills too. I mean let's be honest, putting up with the whole bottom 25% of the socioeconomic ladder is kind of a drag, and it'd really be for the best if we could move them somewhere else too. We could turn their vacant houses into coffee shops or cool little fashion boutiques or something like that. Without the destitute around dirtying up the place, we could gentrify whole swathes of our cities that haven't served as anything but cesspools of crime and poverty. You would never have to worry about walking around bad neighborhoods because there would be no bad neighborhoods. Urban decay would become a thing of the past. In fact, there are a whole variety of economic burdens that would be lifted from society's shoulders. Money spent on food stamps, TANF, public housing, and other social welfare programs could be reinvested into the market in the form of tax breaks for the corporations that create jobs and keep America the best, most free and equal country on Earth. There would be no "takers" anymore, only "makers!"
The best thing about sending all of the homeless to dumps is that it really isn't much different than from how our society already treats them. Most of us don't care to think much about the poor and underprivileged, much less how they might have been reduced to their situations. That's such a downer. So why not take them out with the trash? We've already put them out of mind; we might as well put them out of sight too.