7.25.2011

Life: Unwrap, Use, Discard


If you haven't taken a look around lately, maybe you haven't noticed the world is an increasingly disposable place. Of course, there are the standard throwaway items we've all come to know and love, paper plates, plastic utensils, condoms...all designed for one convenient use and then the trash (where it can likely be recycled into some new future trash). It's not necessarily a bad thing, I know if I had to wash a plate every time I cleaned one, I'd either be about half my weight or eating Chef Boyardee ravioli from the can with my hands like on the old commercials, (it's not THAT good) but sometimes I can't help but be amazed at how much of our lives can be tossed as easily as yesterday's newspaper.

Don't get me wrong. The only time I go green is with a lighter in my hand, but it seems like all the delicious gourmet meals for the soul that life offers end up scraped into the sink like scraps before we even really taste it. It goes beyond the normal items we use and throw away without a second thought (and the 3 or 4 wrappers it came in). Even items you may not think of as disposable can be just as eligible for the garbage as a marinara-stained styrofoam bowl. Used to be a family would get a big wood-paneled set, put it on the floor of the living room, and let it do its thing for the next couple generations (it would follow the entire circle of life...babies would be conceived near it, folk would grow up in front of it, and old people would often die watching it).

Now, that TV you just bought 5 years ago? Collecting dust in a closet or basement (the trash for people who haven't admitted to themselves they're throwing something away yet) in favor of a sleek new plasma flatscreen. The car you spent 3 years making monthly payments on, putting gas into at a price of one firstborn child per gallon, and lovingly polishing on warm summer days? Now it's on its way to a used car lot to be sold by a guy in a pink and green checkered sport coat and white patent leather shoes because you just had to have this year's model. I'm not innocent...for years I treasured my G1 smartphone as a valued sidekick to my modern life. Now it sits in a suspended animation drawer in my house collecting any dust that somehow gets in there. Not only that, but as I type, some Japanese smartphone company is whipping up some electronic wonder that will make my current Galaxy S look like a fuckin' Tamagotchi. Laptops, iPods...well, iAnythings...all the top of the line til the bottom of the hour.

Our culture is a shrine to disposability...popular music, movies, TV shows, all quickly fabricated with no real quality, used on a very temporary basis, discarded, and mashed up into new trash candidates. It happens in real life too. Jobs are disposable (but only by the people that run the companies, unfortunately). Social networking has made friends as disposable as clicking "unfriend". Love and relationships are all but passe...nobody does that any more, even romance often boils down to single use only (the kids that come out of them are often treated as disposable too). Even marriage, something once thought of as bonding and permanent, has around a 50% trashing rate nowadays, usually for reasons like "he takes all the covers" or "she won't retweet my jokes".

We often are so wrapped up in what happens next, what the new one could do, and when, why, and how we're gonna get the latest and greatest on the block...until the next one comes, anyway. " One thing that hasn't changed in all this time is that the quality things are still worth the maintenance they require...true friends, self-respect, a good woman, family (that deserve to be called that), cherished memories...all need to be meticulously cared for to keep on working. However, the fact is ending is better than mending in most cases, and a lot of things just ain't worth the effort. The whole thing can leave you really wondering what SHOULDN'T be thrown away after one use...I guess the only real answer is "whatever's not in the trash yet"...

6 comments:

Ciara said...

Great post :-)

timethief said...

It's always difficult to comment when you read a post and find your agree with the content. To leave one syaying "excellnet post" may make you appear to be an insincere spammer. Well, the fact is that this is one of those situations wherein I find that I do agree with your disposable society obesrvations, so I do hope this comment does not end up being deleted as spam.

nothingprofound said...

AJ, I hope I'm not encumbering you with too great a burden, but reading posts like this makes me look forward even more enthusiastically to those movies your screenplays will be based on.

nothingprofound said...

AJ-That comment came out all wrong. It should be: to those movies which will be based on your screenplays.

Janene said...

Man, you said it, AJ. It constantly amazes me how disposable our society has become. We all acknowledge it but few do anything about it. Makes me hang my head and shake it at the same time.

Lady J said...

GREAT POST & you said it! These days it seems nothing has real meaning or value any more, it's such a shame.