I just took out the trash to the curb Tuesday night. Thursday has already arrived, which means that exactly 2/7 of a new week has elapsed until the next trash day will have arrived. After retirement, the honored retiree may not have a clue what day it is, so said person needs some kind of benchmark to keep track of time. Garbage day seems as good a day as any to mark the week. The only problem is the rapid pace of time between one garbage day and another. I note that even Ms. Kinsey Milhone, the sassy PI in Sue Grafton's alphabet mystery series who is now up to "U Is For Undertow" had to make a mad dash to get her garbage out before the garbage truck passed her residence. Sue Grafton is one of the few authors we purchase in hardcover since we have been loyal readers since the letter "A" passed some time ago and would not think of being so cheap that we would wait for the paperback edition or spend 10 bucks to read it on Kindle, although my wife thinks the "U" book is not necessarily one of her better creations. Nonetheless, Ms. Milhone continues to entertain. But I digress, as the theme to this post is the repetition of details of daily life.
My wife tells me I should "get a life" since I place so much concern on the weekly garbage detail. But think about it. Fifty-two times a year. Rain or shine. The week's detritus once again vanishes out the door. At home growing up on the farm, the food scraps went to the pigs, anything flammable was burned in a big brown barrel 100 yards away from the house, and genuine indestructable relics were hauled to the sagebrush area across the river where we later explored and exhumed them.
The thing that bothers me so much about trash day is how often it rolls around. I no sooner get the blasted stuff collected and out the door and the next Tuesday has already arrived. On a good trash week, we manage to fill the can to the brim. On an unproductive week, we scarcely fill it one-third full. As a general rule, the more one can throw out, the more simplified one's life becomes. The more worthless stuff one hangs onto, the more complicated one's life is. Accumulated stuff must be dusted, sorted, kept out of the way so one does not stumble over it, admired from time to time, and protected from vandals, depreciation, and deterioration. Throwing it away immediately saves all this trouble. As a general rule, one should not buy any stuff in the first place, although that is counterproductive to the economic stimulus needed to awaken us from the moribund and anemic economy that was presumably caused by the Other Political Party (Not our fault, certainly not) and could adversely affect the composition of Gross Domestic Product. Being an economist, I must always remain cognizant of these factors in my analysis of garbage. On the other hand, the more garbage one gets rid of, the more landfill space is required, thus causing a deterioration of the environment, a bigger hole in the ozone layer, more carbon dioxide, and more polar bears floating away from the North Pole on melting glaciers, and a greater glorification of idiotic junk science to prove icebergs aren't floating to Australia just now.
Thus, it is not an easy or simple matter to evaluate how much stuff one should buy or how much trash one should chuck out the door on a periodic basis. If we don't buy stuff, merchants go broke. They lay people off and these people do not have health insurance, savings, or a new HD flat screen TV with which to watch such epics as Dancing With The Stars. Such people collect unemployment, which then raises the federal deficit a whole bunch, and leads to criticism of socialism running rampant through our handout economy. If we do buy stuff, chances are we could have got by without it anyway since it either won't fit, will look like heck, or will quickly snag or develop a hole in it. If we buy gifts, chances are the recipient won't like them or stuff won't fit them and so they put it in a dresser drawer or take it to their next white elephant gift exchange, hoping the giver of the gift isn't there to select it and take it back home again. If we buy any new electronic stuff, it will go on the blink soon and be obsolescent in six months and parts will be unavailable to fix it so we need to chuck it out. And that raises a whole bunch of environmental stuff to worry about, since there are all manner of poisons and junk in electronic stuff that will kill all of us off. And if we didn't buy stuff, but lived off dandelion leaves from our lawns, we could take life easy, thus further deteriorating the GDP and ticking off the White House for our indolence and lack of patriotism. So there you have it.
The moral to the story is this: Taking out the trash is not a trivial matter. Rather it is a task fraught with a plethora of interconnected and interrelated paramaters and paradigms, worthy of a thirty-equation econometric model producing a paper that could be presented at the annual meeting of the Econometric Society, a promotion to full Professor, and a testimonial dinner. So the next time your spousal unit reminds you that it is time to take out the trash, ponder these points of analysis before you decide to take care of it. You may just want to get your grandson to tamp it down, as my grandson Daniel became an expert at, jumping in the can and jumping up and down on it to create additional space, saving you having to roll it out to the curb. Assuming the stench doesn't knock you over during the ensuing week.