Tag Archives: waste

2608. How the planet was saved

Just beyond Emile’s property was a steep bank on the neighbour’s property. The bank was covered in scrub and served no purpose whatsoever. Emile often threw his garden weeds down that bank when the neighbour wasn’t looking. Nothing could be seen unless the neighbour took up rock climbing or abseiling or something.

On this particular sunny day Emile had dug a hole in his garden to plant a lemon tree and he had a wheel barrow full of clay and stones that he wanted to get rid of. The neighbour’s bank was the ideal place to empty the barrow. And the neighbour was away; in town maybe, for a good half hour.

Emile was about to wheel the barrow to the bank when he heard the phone ringing inside his house. He left the barrow and went to answer the call.

By the time the phone call was over the neighbour had returned. Emile was unable to empty his wheel barrow.

I know that some Readers will find this next bit hard to swallow. The world is full of cynical humans who refuse to follow science and replace the facts with some sort of mythological clap-trap.

You’ve heard of the straw that broke the camel’s back? Well, had Emile tipped the barrow load of soil down the bank at that precise moment it would have upset the entire balance of the planet. The Earth would have done a top to bottom turn. The North Pole would have swivelled to the South Pole, and vice versa.

The phone call had been a wrong number. But I have no doubt that it was some Angel of Mercy who was in the know. Perhaps (there is a possibility) that the wrong call was even made by God in order to prevent a catastrophe. Or it could have been a space alien with a vastly superior scientific knowledge to our own.

Anyway, disaster was averted. Later that day Emile managed to empty his wheelbarrow down the bank. But the dangerous balance of Planet Earth had shifted. We can once again relax with scientific certainty.

2503. Better to light a candle

Sharon was an absolute stickler for “waste not, want not”. All her children had been brought up thus. Not a single one of the four would consider squandering the planet.

After her four fledglings had flown the nest, Sharon decided to further help the world out. She would take in a boarder; not an ordinary boarder but one who might need a little more care which they couldn’t receive without the kindnesses of the likes of Sharon. Bump was such a person, although his real name was Christian. Everyone knew him as Bump. His wife had died and he’d sold the grandfather clock to make ends meet, and a few other things as well. Of course money doesn’t last forever and now that the money had been spent he was clockless, penniless, and homeless. Sharon’s kindness prevailed.

One thing Sharon insisted on was what she called “quality of life”. They didn’t simply eat an evening meal at the table, they had napkins and lovely table settings and a couple of candles.

“Waste not, want not” declared Sharon to Bump. “You must learn to light both candles with the one match. It’s wasteful to strike a match, light a candle, blow out the match, strike another match and light a second candle. The box of matches will last twice as long. If everyone in the world took such care we could save a forest or two.”

Bump complied, but the first time he tried he burnt his fingers. In panic he tossed the match in the air.

The curtains caught fire. The carpet caught fire. The house burned down.

1841. Eustace’s ducks

Eustace was eleven years old. He lived in the country. He had four pet ducks. They were black and white.

A river passed through the neighbouring farm. It wasn’t a big river; more of a large stream. One day Eustace’s ducks waddled down to the river and went for a swim. Eustace told the farmer. The farmer didn’t mind. He said the ducks were welcome to cross his fields and swim all day if they wished. Besides, they looked pretty swimming around.

So that is what they did. Every morning before school Eustace would let the ducks out of their pen and they would waddle down to the river. They messed about in the river all day. Then after school (after he had done his homework) he would go down to the river, call the ducks, and they would follow him home. Of course they followed because they knew it was dinner time.

One day Eustace went down to the river and called but no ducks came. Then he saw them. They had been shot at close range by a hunter and tossed into a pool in the river. The hunter hadn’t even bothered to take them home to eat.

Eustace never got any more ducks.

1829. The birthday gift

Dear Nora,

Thank you so much for the birthday gift. First of all I would like to say that the packaging, thank goodness, is recyclable. There’s nothing worse than getting a gift and the box it comes in is wrapped in plastic or even cellophane. I mean, what is one meant to do with it?

Yours was most thoughtfully wrapped, and the coconut fibres used as packing I can give to my garden worms that consume the few scraps I have.

I noticed that the stamps on the package weren’t fully cancel-marked by the Post Office, so I managed to steam two of them off to use again. However, once I had steamed them off I saw that possibly they had been licked, so I am going to put them in my recycle bin. Can you remember if you licked them? Thank goodness I was wearing rubber gloves before I even started with that.

The instruction booklet that came with your gift was printed on glossy paper. Really Nora! We no longer have to do things the way they were done ten years ago in the Dark Ages. What gets into manufacturers’ heads that makes them think they can print these days on glossy paper?

And the glue on the spine of the book! I know it’s an old book, but it comes from the days when glue was made using cows’ hoofs. I couldn’t bear to open it and be party to the cruel practices of our forebears. I suspect the book must have some value, but a book on bee-keeping is so insensitive. We imprison bees, in effect, and then steal the honey they make. It is a barbaric practice.

All in all, Nora, thank you once again for the recyclable packaging.

The other day, as President of the Green Party, I received a letter from the secretary of the Dyers’ Guild. In it he said that the colour green was the least biodegradable of all the dye colours, and that includes green printer’s ink. Green is a quite inappropriate colour for those who care about the health of our planet. I wrote back and said he must have better things to fill in his time than worry about non-biodegradable dyes and their environmental toxicity. Isn’t it funny how people get hung up on such unnecessary and insignificant little things?


1769. Wasting time

Lloyd would reheat a mug of coffee twice a day. He would place the mug in the microwave, press the one minute button, and start.

Every time he would impatiently pace up and down in front of the microwave; this was one minute of his life wasted. One minute wasted! How things would add up! Reheating twice a day meant two minutes wasted a day. That was almost quarter of an hour a week. Multiply that by the number of weeks in a year and it would come to thirteen hours. In round numbers that was one whole day wasted every two years. In a decade that would be five days. In fifty years it would amount to a month or so.

How he would appreciate that extra month at the end of his life! “Hey!” said God. “You didn’t waste two minutes a day reheating your coffee. You drank your coffee cold. You saved a month! Here’s that extra month tacked onto the end of your life!”

Time went by. The end was near. Lloyd lay on his hospital bed wracked with bone cancer. The pain was excruciating. Things dragged on for an extra month.

1537: The trials of Andrea

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Lindsey at Itching for Hitching. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

She sighed deeply and wondered if this would ever stop. This was the third time this afternoon that Andrea’s husband, Thomas, had phoned the Waste Management Company and let them have it.

“Why was my trash taken away late last Wednesday? You call yourself a garbologist?”

“Do you think you can take the trash away when you like? Wednesday morning is the time stipulated that the trash will be picked up at the gate. I don’t care if it was Christmas Day – it was Wednesday.”

“The guy driving the trash truck needs a bomb under him. I wished him good morning and he grunted at me like I was a.. a pig… Where’s the customer service?”

“Don’t you think, dear,” suggested Andrea to Thomas once he had put the phone down, “don’t you think you could just let these people get on with their job? They seem to do it reliably enough.”

“Rubbish,” said Thomas. “I want better service than that.”

When Thomas dialled the number a fourth time, Andrea had had enough.

“I’m going into town,” she said, “to the library. I shall return once all this nonsense is over.”

“You don’t understand,” said Thomas.

Andrea drove into town. What a trial the trash collection company saga had become. She sighed deeply and wondered if this would ever stop. It had been going on ever since her husband had bought the Waste Management Company almost a month ago.