Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Talking trash and Sisyphean tasks


Garbage Man (sung to the tune of Rocket Man by Elton John)
I filled my trash bags up last night, alright.
Pick-up hour, six a.m.
But the Garbage truck won't be by 'til ten.
I hate taking trash out so much, just ask my wife
I carry it out at a snails pace
Cause the bag ain't light. 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash out here alone 
Can't believe all the waste you generate when you have kids
In fact it really starts to smell
And no one would pick it up, if you didn't.
And it's recycling, I don't understand
Why don't they pick it up, every week?
A garbage man, a garbage man 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash out here alone 
And I think it's gonna be a long, long, time
'Til trash time brings me 'round again to find
I can't believe all the garbage we produce at home
Oh, no no no...I'm a garbage man
Garbage man taking out the trash tryin' not to bitch and moan. 
Now, I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
This song came to me the other night when I was taking the trash out on a cold and rainy night. I seem to make an inordinate number of trips to the trash can with bags of trash. This is even after the even more inordinate number of trips to the recycling bin. Trips to the yard waste receptacle have subsided with the advent of winter.


My stint as the designated garbage man actually began when I was probably about eight years old. One of my chores was emptying the wastepaper baskets into a big oil drum in the back yard where we would get rid of it in the Idaho circa 1960s version of environmentally sound way: we'd burn it.  And it was actually the burning part of it that made it less of a chore and more entertainment. I'd fill up the burning barrel and figure out where to strategically place the matches to send the trash up in smoke. To this day, I can't believe my parents actually allowed me to set fires on my own at that age. We barely let our kids near the microwave.

But this post isn't about my nostalgic look back at my burgeoning pyromaniac days burning trash. It's more about the Sisyphean nature of many of the mundane tasks of everyday life.  If you are unfamiliar with the ten-dollar word Sisyphean, it refers to some task that really can't be completed.  Sisyphus was a character in Greek legend who was punished by Hades (god of the underworld) for indiscretions in life by being condemned to eternally roll a large stone up a hill. When he neared the top, the stone rolled down again. So Sisyphus could never really complete his task.

I think taking out the garbage is a Sisyphean tasks. So is washing dishes, mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, vacuuming, clipping your toenails, making the bed, cleaning up dog poop, balancing the Federal budget, trying to keep up with your Twitter feed and attempting to get rid of a mountain beaver. I am tempted to add watching all eight seasons of Dexter to the list, because it seems to be taking me forever to do it.

Come to think of it, this post is beginning to seem like a Sisyphean task. So I'm going to defy the gods and complete it.



No comments: