Do you ever really think about where your garbage goes? Of course you don’t: you went to college because your parents were on your case about “go to school so you can get a good job and not have to be a garbageman for the rest of your life.” Never you mind that somebody has to haul off all of your rubbish and all your junk and do something with it, and a city without garbagemen will die about as fast as a person without kidneys. It’ll be about as nasty, too. You don’t know what fun is until you’re in the middle of a citywide garbage worker strike in the middle of summer, and all of your neighbors keep tossing out trash as if it’ll magically go away. Yeah, they’ll go out to their bins or the big dumpster out back, and just STARE at the overflowing mess, because they worked long and hard to ignore where their garbage goes.
Do you ever really think about where the stuff in your toilet goes, too? I mean, besides the obvious stuff, you have kids toys, condoms, cotton balls, classified Presidential papers, sand, dirt, gravel, dead goldfish, and the occasional alligator. Some people know, and they’ll be glad to talk about the particulars about standard waste water treatment versus green options, on capturing outgassed methane and heavy metals, and the latest options in leachate fields. As soon as they get into it, though, everyone else’s eyes glaze over, because you’re not supposed to talk about THAT. Once it goes into the porcelain throne, it’s just supposed to magically go away, especially when the sewer line is clogged and broken and you suddenly have a geyser in your front yard.
Do you ever really think about where the Large Trash goes? You know: all of the stuff far too large to put into the trash can or the toilet, but that you can’t pile up and set on fire? Broken or worn-out furniture, tree branches, old flower pots, random chunks of plastic, the boxes in which your new flatscreen TV came, and kids’ toys that they’ve either outgrown or worn out. In a lot of neighborhoods, you have random scrap collectors who keep an eye open for metal that’s worth the effort of hauling to a scrap yard, but everything else gets hauled off, when you don’t have a neighbor that parks badly enough that the truck that comes by every Wednesday can’t get in. It could all get dumped in a landfill, or chopped into small pieces and sorted for recycleables, or it could be chopped smaller and used as fuel for incinerators. Whatever happens, you’re just glad to look out your front window in the morning and sigh contentedly that sunset won’t start at 2 in the afternoon because of the mountain of Amazon boxes and shipping pallets in your front yard that’s slowly causing the continental plate on which you reside to sink into the Earth’s mantle.
Do you ever really think about where your toxic waste goes? You may not think you make any, but what about the various dead electronic devices you pitch? Do you worry about the lithium ion batteries in that old iPod you’ve been hoarding in your junk drawer since 2009? Do you consider the cadmium and lead in that vintage CRT computer monitor that you put in the corner until you could take it out for electronics recycling, and you keep forgetting? What about the dead paint cans in the garage, or the dead cleaners under your kitchen sink, or the coolants in that dying refrigerator you use to keep beer in the garage? If you died tomorrow, would it all go to where it needs to go for efficient processing, or would it just end up in a big dumpster and hauled out to the dump, where the batteries catch fire and burn the whole place to ash?
Do you ever really think about where your dead bodies go? I’m not just talking about dead pets, although that’s a concern. Do you know exactly how much hazardous material is in Grandma’s pacemaker, especially if she’s had it since the days when pacemaker batteries used plutonium to generate electricity? What about parts? Have you made plans for that amputated arm, other than telling everyone “It’ll make great soup?” And all of the accessories: wigs and hip implants are great and all, but what are you REALLY planning to do with that colostomy bag?
See all of that above? You don’t have think about it because we do our jobs. Now consider all of the black-ops stuff: weapons systems too classified and too toxic to be recycled for components. Supplemental nuclear fusion generator parts that can’t be melted down for the metal without contaminating tons of steel or aluminum. Most extraterrestrial organisms are easy to compost, but there’s also the ones with body hair analogues with the tensile strength and dimensions of asbestos fibers, with the same end results when spread out over a typical suburb. You don’t want to know about the dimensional anchors that need to be destroyed and destroyed fast, before something manages to squeeze past the wards and sigils and digest our reality. All of this and more, and no matter how well-designed the disintegration and reintegration barrows, the walls, ceilings, and floor eventually wear out from the constant onslaught and we need to build more. We keep doing it, though, because the alternatives are so much worse.
This is a message from the staff of St. Remedius Medical School, renowned across the globe for its handling of unorthodox threats to Earth and elsewhere. “We clean up the mess, so your brains don’t snap while dealing with it yourself.” Please give us a call about your specific needs and deadlines: no job is too small or too large, and you should be thankful for that.
Dimensions (width/height/depth): 12 1/2″ x 13″ x 12 1/2″ (31.75 cm x 33.02 cm x 31.75 cm)
Plant: Pinguicula x “Titan”
Construction: Glass enclosure. polystyrene foam, found items.
Shirt Price: Sold