Question of the day: How do you recycle pornography without looking like a creeptacular pervball?
Let me explain. First off, I mean old school pornography, printed on paper, which you can’t simply delete from your browser’s history.
Also, it isn’t mine. I know — that’s what they all say. But in this case, it’s true. Even though we bought our house more than a decade ago, the previous owner — an aging bachelor who lived alone with his cat, his guns and his posters of processed women sprawled across the hoods of American-made sports cars — continues to receive mail-order adult catalogs at our address.
And every day the mailman brings more, from outlets like “Spice Video”, “Lion’s Den” and one that specializes in, er, let’s call them “niche categories.” You know, involving costumes, implements, restraints and — I scat you not — bodily wastes. By the way, we also receive his novelty weapons catalogs, featuring all manner of tactical knives, combat swords, battle axes, nunchuks, brass knuckles and a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire sold under the product name “Lucille” (from the description: “Lucille is a dirty girl, and she doesn’t take any back talk from anyone”).
At least now I know what to get my wife for Mother’s Day.
Anyway, between these and our legitimate catalogs — REI, Cabela’s, LL Bean, Orvis, Crate & Barrel, Guitar Center (all pornographic in their own way) — recycling accumulates quickly. In fact, we often eclipse our every-other-week curbside limit, what with the packaging from all the junk we order, and I’ll drop off the overflow myself.
Last week, I arrived at the recycling center moments after they bulldozed the mixed paper pile, thus leaving me no choice but to drop my bin of porn right onto bare pavement, no sneaking it among someone else’s supermarket circulars and old phone books. You should’ve seen the look on the neighboring woman’s face. I thought she was going to soil her mom jeans. Not that I blame her. I’d be freaked out, too, if I encountered myself discarding a mountain of skin mags. Good thing she wasn’t carrying “Lucille.”
Anyway, this got me thinking: You can tell a lot about people by their recycling.
For instance, do they attend to it immediately, or save up and rent a van? What’s their organizational system? What color beans do they eat? Crest or Colgate? Rainier or High-Life? Bar soap or bath gel? Are they the type to wash out the empty ketchup bottle? What about tougher-to-clean containers, like peanut butter, where you actually have to get in there with a brillo pad?
Also, think about just how many personal care products come inside cardboard cartons and No. 1 and No. 2 plastic containers.
Here’s what my recycling says about me:
I am a recovering Diet Pepsi addict. Though I continue to dabble in a veritable pharmacopia of sugar-free soft drinks — for instance, the other night I found myself wondering what it would be like to snort a line of Crystal Light — I used to down Diet Pepsi by the Costco cube. Even though I swore off the stuff for good, there’s no hiding evidence of a relapse.
Also, I stockpile magazines for a “later” that never comes. It’s all I can do to keep up with the catalogs; you can’t expect me to finish a whole New Yorker every week. Even after I’ve promised to rid our house of them, I usually rescue a fair chunk, which I then relocate to the guest bathroom, in case I ever feel like sneaking away with the 2011 Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview.
Of course, that’s to say nothing of all the other recyclables I’ve stashed around the house. We’re talking milk crates of used printer cartridges and shoeboxes stuffed with spent batteries, to say nothing of the “bag of bags” I’ve got going in every closet.
Come to think of it, there’s a fine line between recycling and hoarding. By the way, have you ever seen that show, “Hoarders” on A&E? My favorite episode is the hoarder who hoards back episodes of “Hoarders.”
Interesting, too, how readily recycling becomes toys. You will not find a single BPA plastic cup, plate or utensil in the cabinets, but we’ll let our son drink bathwater from discarded pill bottles. My daughter’s favorite plaything is a cracked-screen iPhone 4 I’ve been meaning to trade in for nearly seven years now. And twice a month I find myself bulldozing a cardboard shantytown from my living room.
Whatever my recycling says about me, I still take my family’s waste management pretty seriously. Ask my wife. It drives her nuts. In fact, we even compost, through the Juneau Composts! community collection program.
Man, I don’t even want to think about what my compost is saying …
Shameless Plug: The Geoff Kirsch Experience Experiment Projeqt featuring Margie McWilliams will be performing at the Alaska Folk Festival today at 7 p.m. If you’re reading this today, that’s tonight! If not, sorry you missed it (although I’m sure the video’s gone viral and I’ve signed a record deal, so …).
• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday in Neighbors.