Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Old Trash Can: A Dialogue

I recently got rid of an old plastic trash can that my wife and I received as a wedding gift, and I feel sort of guilty about it. Not a whole lot, but a little bit.

Now I know what you're thinking: A trash can as a wedding gift? But before you rush to judgment, you need to know a few more facts.

The trash can came from a close friend of mine, who was also a member of my wedding party. He lived out of state at the time, and coming here and being a part of the wedding was almost gift enough in itself. I hadn't seen him in a while, and it was nice to get to hang out with my buddy a little bit before the wedding, even if our "hanging out" consisted mostly of last-minute runs for decorations – real pumpkins and other such fall stuff.

Couple that with the fact that my friend didn't have a whole lot of disposable income, and his not only making the trip but giving me anything at all (not to mention the tux rental fee he had to pay) must have been quite a struggle for him at the time.

Also, it's important to realize that the trash can was not empty – it was packed full of household cleaning supplies. Very practical things that we would – and did – use.

The trash can itself has served us faithfully (as much as an inanimate, non-living object can "serve") for eight-and-a-half years. But its lid was broken, there were cracks in the sides and bottom, and we really wanted a more updated model with a lid that flips up when you step on the lever. So out with the old, in with the new.

Now I'm not truly naive enough to believe that my friend would actually be offended if he knew (and he will now after this post) that I had gotten rid of the old trash can. But the thought of him (or anyone, really) overreacting to a seemingly innocuous revelation such as this just struck me as funny. Here's how I imagined a (fictional) phone conversation like this might go:

J:  So, what have you been up to lately?

D:  Not a whole lot. You know, just working mostly.

J:  I hear ya. About the most exciting thing that's happened around here lately is that we got a new trash can.

D:  You got a what?

J:  Um...

D:  Did you say you got a new trash can?

J:  Yeah. Uh, yeah we sure did. One of those fancy kinds with the lid that flips up when you step on the foot pedal thingie.

D:  What was wrong with the old trash can?

J:  Well, you know, nothing really. I mean, it was a good trash can –

D:  I know it was a good trash can. I gave you that trash can. For your wedding – remember?

J:  Yeah, yeah, I remember. And it really was a good trash can, but –

D:  But what? It wasn't good enough for you? You couldn't stoop so low as to use the crappy old can I gave you?

J:  No, it's not like that. It was just that it was cracking down the side, and one place in the bottom, and, you know, it was time for a new one.

D:  Do they sell duct tape where you live?

J:  Yeah, why do you ask?

D:  Duh! You tape up the cracks, and it's as good as new. The thing will last forever!

J:  Yeah, but duct tape – well, it looks kind of, you know, tacky!

D:  Oh, I see how it is now. You think you're better than me, don't you?

J:  No, I was just –

D:  You're Mr. High Class, and I'm Mr. Tacky, is that it?

J:  Um, no. What are you talking about?

D:  Pay attention! I'm talking about the same thing you're talking about – the trash can I gave you for your wedding. That I paid for with my own money, I might add – of which I had very little at the time.

J:  I know, I know. And I really appreciated it. I truly did. We got plenty of good use out of it, too. Eight-and-a-half years' worth, in fact.

D:  And then you just threw it out like – like garbage!

J:  Funny.

D:  I wasn't making a joke.

J:  Okay.

D:  How could you throw away a perfectly good trash can like that? Especially one that was given to you as a gift?

J:  That's what I'm saying – it wasn't perfectly good anymore. It had cracks up the side –

D:  Uh-huh, I get it. If it's not perfect, it's not good enough for you. You think you're all high and mighty, don't you?

J:  No, I just wanted a new trash can. Simple as that.

D:  Simple as that, you say? I bet you threw away all those cleaning supplies I packed in there, too, huh? I bet as soon as you opened that trash can, you just took all that stuff out and threw it away, didn't you?

J:  No! I mean, I did take it all out –

D: Mm-hmm, just like I thought.

J:  Let me finish. I took it all out so I could put a trash bag in it. So I could actually use the trash can, you know?

D:  And what did you do with the cleaning supplies?

J:  We used them. What were we supposed to do, put 'em behind glass like a shrine, and bow down to them three times a day?

D:  Don't be a wiseacre!

J:  Okay, I don't even know what that is, but I'll try not to be one.

D:  So you're telling me that you used all the cleaning supplies I had packed inside the trash can?

J:  Well, yeah. I mean, most of them.

D:  What do you mean "most of them"?

J:  Uh...well, we threw out the Comet Cleanser.

D:  What was wrong with the Comet Cleanser?

J:  Well, we tend to like the liquid cleansers better. So...

D:  So you threw away a perfectly good tin of Comet? That thing cost me 99 cents, you know!

J:  I'm sorry. Do you want me to pay you 99 cents?

D:  It's not about the money!

J:  Then what is it about? 'Cuz I'm confused –

D:  Are you stupid or something? It's about the trash can!

J:  Right, which you gave me, and which I threw away, which makes me a horrible person.

D:  Did I say that?

J:  I have no idea at this point! Listen, what do you want me to do? The trash can's gone. It was a great trash can – probably the best trash can the world has ever known. A veritable god among trash cans! But it was old, it was cracked, and it was time for a new one. End of story.

D:  End of story, huh?

J:  Sheesh, you're making such a big deal out of this! Maybe I should be asking you what you did with the pots-and-pans set I gave you for your wedding.

D:  No, you shouldn't.

J:  Oh, really? And why not?

D:  Just change the subject.

J:  No, I don't think so. You're not getting off that easy. What did you do with the pots-and-pans set?

D:  I don't want to talk about it.

J:  Tough, you're gonna hafta talk about it!

D:  Traded it.

J:  You what?

D:  I traded it. To my friend. You remember Matt from the wedding?

J:  I don't care about Matt-from-the-wedding. What did you trade it for?

D:  Call Of Duty.

J:  For what?

D:  The new Call Of Duty game, all right? Are you happy now?

J:  How could you? How could you trade away a pots-and-pans set, that I bought with my hard-earned money, for a video game?

D:  I know.

J:  How heartless can you get? I mean, really!

D:  I know.

J:  I just don't think I'll ever get over this injustice!

D:  Now you're mocking me.

J:  Yes, I am. How's that feel?

D:  Not great.

J:  Good. Now can we talk about something other than trash cans and pots and pans?

D:  Sure.

J:  Finally! Now we can move on to the important stuff!

D:  Exactly.

J:  Who's gonna win the AL MVP this year, Prince or Albert?

D:  Gotta go with the fat guy. Fielder all the way.

J:  I've always been a Pujols fan, so I'm gonna go with him.

D:  You're crazy! Prince will kill AL pitching!

J:  And Albert won't? You're the one who's crazy...

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