Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CUTstuff... my first & only chore.

Starting when I was five, it was my job to collect the garbage from the tiny trash cans around the house. Daily. This was an excruciating and humiliating task for a five-year-old girl, so I had to use my already brilliant sense of creativity and wonder to make it tolerable.

The game that I made out of my garbage route was this: I was Agent 99 from Get Smart, which used to air at eight p.m. on Nickelodeon. As part of my duties as a spy, I had to go through people’s trash.

I had to.

Usually, the trash in my father’s study yielded little of interest, aside from the occasional mysterious post-it, but my Dad has miserable handwriting and a weird fondness for calligraphy markers made his writings impossible to read.

My brother’s garbage can was also dull. The only fun was that I could always report to my mother that he still had his nasty little prediliction for chewing up paper towels, but this was something I could also use as leverage against my brother when he wanted to watch Star Trek instead of Looney Toons so I often saved the evidence of my brother’s habit for blackmail at another time.

The really intriguing garbage was the last can I would hit on my route. My parent’s bathroom. Getting caught rooting around in my parent’s bathroom’s garbage can would yield consequences if I were to be caught, but the high-risk was worth the potential discovery of my brother’s adoption papers, or proof that they at least liked me better.

Once, I found what I know now was a discarded diaphragm. Once I figured out that it wasn’t a balloon, I did a little research, and mistakenly deduced that it was a condom.

I was confused when I saw the size and the girth of my first erect penis.

If their garbage was that interesting, I reasoned, imagine the stuff they were keeping! I began going through their bathroom drawers and their closets, seeing if I could discover any clues about something they were keeping from me. I just knew my Star-Trek obsessed older brother was adopted.

One day, maybe a year into my chore, my father came into his bathroom to find me shaving my forearms with his razor. I received a stern lecture about crossing certain boundaries.

“You can’t just go through other people’s stuff.”

But, really?



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