Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Daily Trash: The Story Told By Rubbish

TrashI wrote a while ago about my new hobby of picking up trash when I walk the dog in the morning. While not as glamorous as collecting cars or as interesting as beekeeping, it does have its moments. And it keeps the couple blocks around where I live looking pretty clean, which is nice.

But while some people read tea-leaves or speak to mediums to understand their world and predict the future, I look to my trash. It is a bellweather of the world around me, a sign of the times. Through trash, some mysteries of the universe can be revealed, if only slightly, while at the same time, the trash puts forth new questions daily. Such as, how did that 5 foot long section of someone's bathroom wall end up on the corner of 10th and Spring?

This week, occurring in greater frequency are rubber gloves. I have picked up at least three of them since Monday. This can only mean one thing: swine flu paranoia. I have not yet found a respirator on the ground. You know, those things people wear while sanding drywall which probably have absolutely no benefit versus airborne contagions. But I expect I will see them soon as H1N1 fear grips the nation.

FuneralSeveral days ago, the normal tranquility of Columbia Heights was disturbed by paramedics on my street. By normal tranquility, I mean police helicopters, gunshots, and drunken yelling. This is not the first time I've seen such things, but as we watched a stretcher emerge from our neighors' home, we wondered if things were not more serious this time.

The funeral procession observed yesterday afternoon by N. confirmed this. This morning's trash was a solemn reminder of the passing of a man whom I knew mostly by the clinking of his spoon against his cereal bowl as he ate his morning breakfast on the front porch. That sound from a few doors away, which had become a familiar part of my morning ritual last summer as I enjoyed a cup of coffee on my own porch, has been silenced. Rest in peace.

ExtenZeThe final piece of trash will close this post on a lighter note. Outside "The Asylum," a DC outpatient mental health clinic near my home, I found this blister pack on the ground. Excited by the discovery of what I thought might be actual drugs, I peered purposefully at the pill pack. What would it be? Antibiotics? Antidepressants? A mystery drug which I would have to eat, identity unknown, like Alice and her mushrooms, in order to determine its true purpose? Would I take the blue bill??

No - it was ExtenZe. You know, the natural supplement for male enhancement you see relentlessly adertised by that smiling nerdy guy who gets wayyy more play than his much-better-looking buddies. Who says size doesn't matter... big is back!

Geeky sidenote: Am I the only person who has noticed the similarity between the "ExtenZe" logo and the logo for "ExistenZe," the creepy David Cronenburg flick from 1999 which is almost identically named? I made this connection the first time I saw one of those ExtenZe advertisements on cable TV but never dug further into this important matter.

It appears that I am not alone. A blogger answers the question we have all been wondering: eXistenZ vs. ExtenZe: Which is Better? Click through for the shocking conclusion.


Anonymous said...

the gloves might be more of an indication of prostitution.

Jamie said...

I'm not sure I get that. Would they be used for protecting yourself while receiving oral sex from a rooster?

Anonymous said...

fisting, fingering, nasty ass people ( i guess thats a given) and plain old fetish. probably stuff i can't imagine.

when there is an increase in prostitution in my alley, it always corresponds to finding more gloves.

never pick them up with anything that enters enters your house.

Jamie said...

I always wear a condom when picking up gloves.

In all seriousness, I don't usually pick up trash in the alley (except my own), this is street stuff. I've never seen any evidence of prostitution in either place, though, my little area is pretty quiet. These probably have more to do with the health care facility down the street than anything else... which is, in some ways, worse.

Unknown said...

I thought the "natural male enhancement" guys got shut down and were in very deep trouble, so I came here to comment on that.

And as I went and Googled "natural male enhancement" plus the word "court," I discovered that those commercials with the smilin' dude aren't for ExtenZe, but for Enzyte. Easy mistake to make.

The Enzyte site is still up, but given the content of the articles linked below, I'm surprised.

link 1
link 2
link 3

ExtenZe appears to also be the same kind of "male enhancement pills" (read: snake oil), so it was definitely an easy mistake to make. In fact, given all the advertising for Enzyte (I saw those TV commercials a lot during a time when I was only in the US for 2-3 weeks a year), I'd say there's a decent chance that ExtenZe was named to capitalize on consumers confusing it with Enzyte.

HP said...

Thank you! I have often wondered about that logo familiarity too, and what a strange act of corporate branding it is. Of course, I think that you and I might be the only two people who have ever seen that movie so that could explain the oversight.

K. Pro said...

Male Enhancement reports and profiles of male enhancement products make false advertising claims about their effectiveness - no product can make you gain inches, and herbal male enhancers are not manufactured to work immediately like prescription ED drugs such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra.