Friday, December 9, 2016


I'd never seen such a range or recycling bins.
I'm glad we aren't required to have all these in our homes. 

I had to laugh at my own thoughts this morning – I tossed a used paper towel into the trash and wondered what garbologists of the future will think of what else I’d thrown out.

I know they’ll know my name and where I lived because of the section I tore out of an unsolicited form I was sent to apply for life insurance, a credit card, cable service, or some other thing I didn’t want in the first place. I recycled the rest of the form. I’m a conscientious recycler, but every once in a while I’ll toss out something that really could have been recycled. I have a momentary pang of guilt, but just momentary. And sometimes I hear someone in the future going “tsk, tsk.” But then I tell myself that they’ll find just this one thing in there and will know from the absence of any other recyclables that I was basically a good person. Yeah, right? It beats me why I sometimes think of what the future will think of me – I’ll be dead, why do I care?! It's a waste of time and brain power.

Do any of you remember this picture?

I’ve had this picture in my head for years. I named it “Our Lady of the Toilet Seat.” Perhaps that really was her title. I vaguely remember the story, so I googled “woman with a toilet seat on her head,” and came up with the picture and an entry from Mentor’s Reader.  The Picture comes from David Macaulay’s Motel of the Mysteries. I remember reading the book, but not owning it. (We did own and have passed on down many of his wonderful books like The Way things Work, Cathedral, City, Castle, and our favorite, which we still have, Mill.*) I recall that the folks in the fictitious future didn’t know what to make of the toilet seat. I wonder what other things might pose a question for garbologists.

I say garbologists, but in fact, garbologists study today’s waste system, it’s the poor archaeologists of the future who will be dissecting and studying the trash we bury today. By then it will be routine, and I’m sure that today’s archaeologists are delighted that they don’t have to study modern garbage dumps. Modern middens usually don’t interest them. Give ‘em a random pot shard, a bronze artifact, even an old bottle, and they are content.

*As an aside, and just by coincidence, in double-checking the titles of the many Macaulay books we’ve owned, I discovered that in 2015 he published his work called Toilet: How it Works

No comments:

Post a Comment