Monday, December 10, 2012

Common Street Trash

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. When it comes to a five-year-old everyone's trash is their treasure.
Happy Birthday Darling

Recently my eldest daughter and her friend have started picking up any litter they find on the ground and proclaiming it “precious”.

A fine role model

It started with things that I thought wasn’t that odd, a torn out page of a calendar with a bunny and a kitten, or a broken Transformer left on the curb for taking.

The cat later devoured the bunny

Then things started to get strange. Bus transfers were deemed worthy of collection (but only the ones on stiff paper that come from subway stations, the flimsy paper ones on buses and streetcars were below the girls. Then things got ridiculous, pine needles, wrapping paper and flyers for sales. It’s as though they are making a disgusting nest in a tree somewhere.

A good day of hunting

Anytime we walk by a stand with free pamphlets its like they won the lottery. Going to the passport office with me was a super special treat as they stuffed their bags with documents outlining duty free amounts and shouting, “I’m going to decorate my room with these!” If they ever followed through with putting these things on their walls they would look like every conspiracy theorist depicted on television ever.

Weekly on the way to swimming lessons we pass a bank of newspaper boxes. This is most exciting. Can you guess which of the four boxes in the below picture two five-year-olds would most want to pillage?

That’s right the pink box! Xtra, Canada's Gay and Lesbian News.  I think even the editors of these fine publications would have to agree that the contents are probably not suited for their age group. And I don’t want to have to answer their questions about some of the pictures in there.

Well, the chimney gets hot, so sometimes Santa has to take off his shirt while he goes down... I mean enters the house!

I dictated that they only take from the green, blue or orange boxes. Given how outspoken I am for my dislike of Barbie, I think they must believe there are magazines in there all about her and her pink convertible.

I’ve gone to keeping my eyes on the ground ahead of us as we walk to spot anything I don’t want them picking up. The other day while walking to school I spotted something hiding under the bushes. It was bright orange with little pink spikes. In my head I was begging them not to pick it up and decided it was best not to point it out. Sure enough one of the girls picked up a penis tickler sleeve. I screamed, “Put it down! Drop it right now!” with my best Daddy voice. A parent I was walking with asked me what it was. Not wanting to profess my knowledge of the specific names of such things I spelled out, “c-o-c-k-r-i-n-g”.

I had to look at a lot of penises to find this picture. Then I remembered the Internet and looked at even more.

The girls immediately wanted to know why they couldn’t have it, or even touch it. I was stuck. I find reverting to the “Because I said so,” never works. I had to give an excuse. My mind raced, then crashed and failed me, “People put it on their privates.”
“Why?” my daughter asked.
“For decoration,” I answered, while in the back of my mind I knew this answer would only raise more suspicion and questions.
“It looks like it would hurt.”
“Nope, it’s quite soft.” Then I ran away forever.

The other parent both laughed at me and said it was very brave of me to actually answer the question.  The bigger problem is that the damned thing is still there and every day we walk by it I see the girls glance at it full of curiosity. That’s why I am hoping for a teachers strike only to give me a break from the daily awkwardness.



  1. 28 years ago my eldest daughter plucked a tampon applicator out our bathroom trash for "a craft". Kids see things so differently, thanks for the reminder.

  2. oh laugh I've had in ages. Plus, I'm enjoying the picture from the Gay Christmas wishbook. I had no idea Santa was so buff.