If I were doing standup, I’d start this out with “What’s the deal with recycling?”
Well, I’m not doing standup, because of my sedentary nature… but what is the deal with recycling?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of saving the planet. And, since I always root for the home team, the planet I’d like to help save is Earth.
This cheery little diatribe is to let my fellow required-by-law-to-recycle folks know they are not alone. Also, to prepare those who live in benighted municipalities that barely care about you, let alone your children, grandchildren, or your nieces (well, that last one I can’t blame them for), haven’t imposed recycling yet (but may some day).
Recycling isn’t easy to do. For those classified as “recyclables,” e.g., plastic bottles, glass bottles, cans, and others of that ilk, (making everything else classified as “We give up.”), I make a special trip to the grocery store to buy those special blue bags with my special money—money seeming to be something that I have no problem recycling… as fast as possible.
So, now I’m all set, right? Not so fast. According to the cryptic guidelines from the Department of the City Dump, the objects must have a special number on them to make the cut and avoid going into the pariah pile.
Now, in a lot of cities they don’t make any such distinctions—their equipment can handle anything… or they’re just saying it can, to placate any nut jobs, like myself, who foolishly think it would be desirable to aim for a modern day Garden of Eden.
I think in my municipality the lucky numbers are either “0” and “1,” or “1” and “2”—I know “1” is one of them, and that’s what I look for. If I find a number “0” or 2, I just put aforementioned labeled container in the blue bag and hope I don’t get caught.
The key words are “If I find.” I go to hold the bottle up to light, first the overhead kitchen light, then the window, and finally my powerful megawatt flashlight, usually reserved for shining deer.
There is something definitely either stamped on in ink or actually extruded from the plastic. Could be a number, could be a manufacturer’s wart, could say “Rosebud,” —your guess is as good as mine, and I have excellent vision.
But you finally discern, after holding the empty water bottle over your head (an excellent rehab exercise for your rotator cuff injury, except it becomes even harder to read through the tears of pain), so you can read the number conveniently located on the bottom that the number is either a “1” or a “5.” It’s “The Lady or the Tiger?” all over again. Don’t ask me why. It just is.
Here’s a clue: if the plastic feels like it could be made into a baseball bat and would never shatter, odds are it’s a “5”—and judging by what’s been going on recently in Major League baseball, it should be made into a bat.
Now, we’re in the clear. Not so fast. What about that expiration date?
The confusion starts right there. Is it a “sell by,” “use by,” or “fatal after” date? Ask three friends you’ll get three, possibly four, different answers. And just exactly what is that date? As you examine it in the supermarket, letting all the cold out of the compartment, fogging up the glass on the doors adjacent, and having a conga line form behind you, with the participants pushing and shoving each other, in what has suddenly become the most popular section in the store, the only thing that you will be able to see is that the date is hard to see.
I take a chance, and buy the product, only to find out on further examination under much better conditions and much less pressure when I’m back home, that I have only two days left before the due date.
Now I can just bet my bottom dollar, which I’ve already just spent, that the corporate bad guys have plenty of anti-litigation padding in the dates they put on their products.
But, not being one to throw caution to the winds (impossible for me, anyway—remember that rotator cuff), I start devising all kinds of meals that require enormous quantities of milk so I can consume it all before the deadline (think about that word).
(Please recycle this…ASAP.)