The trashman’s monument

Trashman at two

Trashman at two

This is the saga of a little person who we will call the Trashman.  As seen on his second birthday he was a ravenous cake-eater, and in spite of appearances most of the cake was on the inside.  He stuffed it in like an animal.  A lot of cake did not make it inside, but graced his face, nose, chin, both hands, his clothes, the table, and the floor.  The little Trashman did not even care!!

Who could possibly believe that this cute and innocent little wafer would become an urban legend before his fifth birthday.  This is the way it happened:

On one occasion when barely four years old, he became his grandpas big helper.  While grandpa was screwing metal hooks on a closet door, the better to hang up kids coats, this little wafer accepted the job of carrying off grandpas leavings, small packages in which the hooks were wrapped, extra pieces of cellophane, left-over screws, and the like.

Through this process, grandpa called himself the screwing-the-hook-up-on-the-door-man.  For obvious reasons, this moniker was shortened to simply the hookman.  For equally obvious reasons, the little wafer came to be known as the Trashman for his industrious disposal of waste.  For a period of time thereafter grandpa would refer to himself simply as the hookman, and the wafer would echo with his new moniker, the Trashman.  Because grandpa was eternally doing things to his surroundings he was elated to have the Trashman around to clean up the mess.

As fate would have it, the Trashman was endowed by his creator with a miraculous adaptability, one not regularly discussed in polite company.  The family, of course, knew all about such talents, but because it was his own personal talent, he experienced some manifestations not fully appreciated by others.   The others did witness some awe-inspiring and catastrophic byproducts.

For whatever reason, when it comes time to potty-train small urchins, the process often goes awry, as it may have in this case.  His training seemed entirely within normal limits, but for most small males, actually admitting the need to go to the bathroom comes with great difficulty.  It seems far better to cross ones legs, try to pinch the urge away, or dance around into strange postures.  Only adults spring into action to relieve low-levels of urgency.  The Trashman engaged in all of these quite typical activities.  With the passage of time, the Trashman’s functioning known in school as number one became quite normal, accompanied by the usual denial, of course.

        Number two, by contrast, the function accorded a higher level of urgency, acquired an outstanding character.  As the result of putting-off this more substantive function, the Trashman was caught in a cycle of physiological adaptation.  The more he put-off this function, the larger the end-product grew.  The more it grew, the greater the effort required to produce it at all.  Eventually the job was accompanied by substantial pain and extreme postures in order for the Trashman to achieve what others do quite readily.

In the Trashman’s case, the end-product did not just happen.  He engaged in preparation for hours.  During this time, he would arch his lower back, prop himself up against any object in the vicinity, and deny that he needed to do a job in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.  He seemed to be functioning like a robot compactor, carefully manipulating, forming and compressing his final product.

And so, the end-product grew to enormous proportions which was virtually impassable.  The Trashman had adapted to the point of almost no return.  With a capacity to retain four, five or six days of putting-off, he acquired an awesome ability when measured by his final end-product.  On the day of delivery, when the Trashman go-eth, he could lay one monstrous chunk onto his environment, a virtual monument.

On one fateful occasion when only grandma and the Trashman were present, he was coaxed through gentle persuasion, extreme effort and a lot of hand-holding, to produce forthwith a specimen entirely within his enormous capability.  Because of its awesome dimensions, and modern plumbing restrictions, grandma, acting like a midwife in the old days, accepted the delivery manually, and withheld the specimen from its usual and customary repository.  She gently wrapped it in paper towel and placed it on the fixtures water closet, so grandpa could admire it on his return from the outside world.

As was grandmas custom, when she experiences a problem of unusual dimension, she leaves it to grandpa to assess the situation, and resolve it appropriately.  Now grandpa has an aversion to this custom, and often is not advised of all such problems, leaving some to be discovered by himself.  On this occasion grandpa entered the bathroom quite innocently, discovered the large multi-faceted object wrapped in paper towel resting on the water closet.  Through his olfactory receptors, grandpa discerned immediately that the package was not Xmas candy, so he approached with due diligence.

At first he peeked through the wrapping to confirm what he already suspected.  Then he unwrapped the object with fastidious care, and discovered the gem within to be the Trashman’s latest end-product.  It was complete from bow to stern, and was spectacular.

As was grandpas tradition, when something spectacular appears, it is essential to capture its essence digitally.  In this case, digitally does not mean upon ones fingers, but rather upon a digital camera.  Grandpa was unusually meticulous digitally, meaning with his fingers.  He had never previously witnessed such a magnificent monument, particularly one that was man-made and completely natural.  He moved the monument digitally from the small bathrooms stuffy environment into the kitchen, where the natural light coming through the southern windows provided excellent illumination, and an abundance of free-flowing fresh air.

In the kitchen, Grandpa completely unwrapped the monument, and placed it very carefully in an upright position on the table.  Then he scoured the house for an object that would provide an appropriate visual standard for size comparison.  Grandpa had no idea what kind of object might be visually appropriate, tasteful, and available for this purpose, so he looked high and low.  Finally he was excited to discover the perfect object in the family pantry, a six-ounce can of tomato paste.  He positioned it on the kitchen table next to the Trashman’s monument.  Having carefully set an appropriate stage for capturing the end-product digitally, grandpa was pleased.  Only then did he wash his hands thoroughly, and fetch his camera.

It should go without saying that the digital image, not the one of grandpas fingers, was made without the use of smoke or mirrors, and is un-retouched in authentic detail, although a spray can of air freshener would have mellowed the surroundings.

This is the first public exposition of the Trashman’s monument with the six-ounce can of Contadina Tomato Paste.  An explanation is due Contadina.  Following a thorough search of the premises, the tomato paste was the clear winner with the most colorful, size appropriate, and tasteful comparison that could be found by grandpa on short notice.  Fulfilling multiple criteria, it is Grandpas pleasure to honor Contadina in this manner.  On occasions such as this, it is necessary to simply grin and bear it.  The Trashman did.


The Trashman’s monument is the one on the left.  As may be seen, the tomato paste is identified as 100% tomatoes, with no additive.  Because the Trashman is only half Italian, considerably less of his product is actually tomato.   It should be noted that the specimen appears to be in an early stage of petrifaction, probably owing to its maturing and compaction for several days within the Trashman.

At first blush, for a four-year-old to deliver such a monument is easily comparable to childbirth.  The difference is that the Trashman comes to full-term every four or five days, at which time he must repeat the delivery again, naturally, without sedative, saddle-block, anesthesia, stirrups, or excessive screaming.  Indeed, he has acquired a gentlemanly demeanor, and except for the contortions of grotesque posturing, he manifests few outward signs of each impending birth.

Like every expectant mother, he has also developed a sense of personal pride in each new delivery.  In a manner fitting only the Trashman, he adopted the habit of naming each of his births.  The most recent he named Carlos K. Krinklebine, no doubt after the fish in the Cat in the Hat, an ugly little waterborne creature who shared his anal-nature with all those around him.

It has not all been good news!  To paraphrase Mark Anthony, the Trashman’s monuments are interred with no bones.  The bad news lives after him and follows the Trashman like a plague.  The bad news is detailed in the rest of the story.

In his wisdom, after grandpa digitized this first specimen, he wrapped it in swaddling clothes, and laid it in a rolling trash container outside the house, and down-wind.  Most others have not proceeded with grandpas meticulous caution, and have tried in vain the usual method of disposal, – by flushing.

Standard flushing of the Trashman’s monuments has laid waste to otherwise adequate plumbing up and down the east coast, with a concentration in New Jersey.  Older fixtures succeed on rare occasions with a throat of greater diameter and a torrent of water to complete the job.  In spite of rare success, this is not recommended.  The newer, more efficient models designed by environmentalists and conservationists are poorly equipped to manage the job at all, – without choking.  Normal flushing in an environmentally friendly fixture produces an overflow of condiments, fertilizing floors and carpets, and reviving species that should remain on the endangered list.

The Trashman’s Nursery School was among the first of many public facilities to acknowledge a personal visit.  After calling a plumber to clear the line, the nursery school then called the family, and asked if the workers could be warned in advance on each likely day of delivery, so they could protect their plumbing, an expensive repair job in New Jersey.

The Trashman’s Sunday School teachers welcome him into their presence prayerfully, and are doubly thankful each Sunday when he departs without leaving a contribution.

On a recent extended trip from New Jersey to Florida, the Trashman distributed his gifts at preferred locations all along the route.  He honored McDonalds, a Best Western in North Carolina, and uncle Bubbas in Jacksonville. He laid the plumbing to waste at each of these preferred sites.

As the Trashman continues to grow, mature, and adapt to full stature, his monuments will each become more magnificent than the last.  As he travels far and wide, mostly in New Jersey, he has adopted grandmas habit of wrapping each parcel in colorfully printed paper towel. Then he lays each carefully on the back of the fixture, just like grandma did.   To each he attaches a small sign that reads “A free monument rests within”.  Then he signs it The Trashman.

If you should encounter one of the Trashman’s monuments, you will know immediately it is not Xmas candy. And do not, under any circumstances, think about disposing of it traditionally, – by flushing.

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