Deff is a human waste engineer whose greatest love in life is to spread trash.
|The [Human] Nature of Trash and the Trash of Human Nature
The pleasantly rancid, ancient odor crept its way into my nose, delicately. The tantalizingly dull, yet also durable plastic felt agreeably comfortable on my back. The overstuffed, round bag dragged with me clumsily over the landscape of my unclean family room. Today was trash day, my favorite day of the week. The experience is an exceptionally moving one that speaks to me on an exquisitely human, personal level.
Trash day is always my favorite day of the week, simply because I get to do work that I consider myself highly qualified for, as opposed to essay writing. It is a career I aspire longingly towards, one I know in my heart will satisfy my human urges for cleansing, removal of filth and cleaning up other people’s messes. Sure, the financial rewards will be minimal, but the human reward is immeasurable. It’s a smelly job, but someone has to do it. It is for the greater good, after all.
Taking out the trash, you see, is a delicate process. Anyone can ‘put something in the garbage’ or ‘throw it away’, but to be a Human Waste Engineer requires knowledge and experience that only the most elite of trash-men can hope to attain. The care, for example, with which you choose the bags, is an essential step in the process. The wrong bag can make you look cheap, stretch, smell or even worse start leaking insidious materials on your carpet. Not that the complete, reeking aroma doesn’t give me a sensual explosion every time I encounter it, understand. The English language cannot bring due justice to the infinitely divine fragrance that is litter, debris, junk and even the most mundane of trash itself.
But back on track, I lost myself in my insatiable desire for waste, disease, and decay. Even more important than the bag itself is what you tie it with. A wrong fastening can bring even the proudest and mightiest of trash bags to their knees. Most people get the old fashioned little ties that go on the end of bread. If you can’t hold it upside down and do the complex ritualistic dance maneuvers (yes, I have one, but I won’t bother explaining it) then it isn’t good enough for grade A litter.
The way you carry a bag is also critically important. Holding it in the front is a big no-no. You must always use two hands, one to hold the top and the other, on the reverse end, to hold the bulk of the bag. The higher above the ground the better, so if you drop it, you can catch it. Items of trash aren’t just objects, they are artifacts. They are precious relics to an era long forgotten – that being one, two maybe even three weeks ago. In that rare case of slobs, (lovingly called Slobio) like my brother, sometimes even a month or more. They are delicate, soul-filled pieces of record that chronicle the rise, fall and lives and deaths of people. That is why I like trash, because trash is the missing part of the human experience. It is the part of ourselves that we ultimately must throw away, like our childhoods, and in the truest sense of the word only the really worthless trash is the one not thrown out.
That is why I simply adore littering. It isn’t just a hobby to me, it is a sport. How many pieces of my life can I share with other people? How many people will angrily see it on the road, and then realize I imparted to them a small part of my own experience – my own existence? How will my grandchildren feel some day when they realize there is no atmosphere left because of so-called ‘polluters’ like myself? Landfill, trash can, recycling bin or side of the road are all equivalent, fitting places for extraneous waste in my mind. They all end up in the same place: decaying under the pavement. Just like us, perhaps, evidence of our fated link to our own trash.
This particular garbage day, I was up early. It is true indeed the trash man, a personal hero, by the way, doesn’t arrive until 6 pm. However, I feel it is my civic duty to report my trash out early. To set an example for the rest of the neighborhood – no, the world – of how you should live your life: like a piece of trash. By merely blowing in the wind, you will see the entire world. Just like black, massive oil spills in the oceans or lakes, a foul odor in the winds, or a noise pollution so loud half the world hears it. Trash is what connects humanity, since we’re all so disgusting, rotten and dying every second we live.
As I was saying, I was up early. I strolled graciously to the door, with my trash can expertly placed in both hands. I carried it like a caring mother would transport a baby. I got the door, and I realized that today I was in for a particularly memorable trash day.
The dark, bellowing clouds rolled over the impure, contaminated horizon like a speeding maniac down the left lane of the interstate. The sullied ventilation of the outdoors moved stealthily into my respiratory system, as if a burglar in the night sky of a high rise building. The smell invigorated me with an inexplicably dark energy, the kind I get only from otherwise witnessing the suffering of others. It wasn’t just *a* trash day, it was the trash day to end all trash days. This day, you see, was delightfully distasteful.
I stood in complete awe at the experience of it all, it was too much for me to even take in. The experience was too much, and for the first time in a long time, I felt like crying because of the sheer rapture it brought me. I could taste the pollution off the air, and the dark feeling started to pulsate within and around me. The crisp, dank air moved across my face lightly, blowing the extension of the tie on the bag against my arm. It’s good to be alive, but it’s better to watch that life fade within trash. A task awaited me, but that became a secondary thought as I heard a voice speak to me.
“Let them feel it, Jeff.,” the voice whispered benignly to me. I knew at that moment that something wanted me to share this experience with others. I had to infect them, willingly or not, with the joy that I felt from this trash. The voice instructed me on precisely what to do, and a seemingly sinister, small smirk spread across my face.
I flew down the street like I never had before, with almost demonic speed, emptying the trash bag into my neighbors’ yards. They would feel the joy I had. I was giving them my trash, my feeling and myself. They would feel what it was to be me, but more importantly the trash would let them know what they were to me: garbage.
As I finished, I sat on my front porch and looked at the now fully shadowy, sleek sky. Tomorrow all of the neighbors would awake to the lovely, redeeming aroma of what the French would probably call garbagé. But I did what I did not for them, but for myself. The joyous elation I had undergone then made me complete as a human being, if only for those twenty minutes. This was the human experience. The birth into darkness, the triumph of evil and the ultimate decay and death that awaits us all had been realized. The common fate of man had been assured, with rowdy rancor, by the Reaper of Rubbish. I was in my own form of heaven, and all was right with the world.