Mitchell’s Musings: Recycling can be a slippery slope

What’s good for Mother Earth is not best for fake hips

I think a wise man once said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Okay, it was Forrest Gump, and maybe he wasn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch, but he had a common man’s wisdom, mostly wrapped up with the prelude “My momma always said…” that helped him achieve much in life.

The quote kept going through my head as I personified that saying to a tee last week.

Let me set it up. It was recycling day, Friday, as I sent my wife off to work with a friendly embrace and a reminder to “drive carefully” as we had come home the night before traversing very icy roads.

She reminded me it was recycling day and we were even in the husband-wife, you-tell-me-something-I’ll-tell-you-something sweepstakes that go on for a lifetime of wedded bliss.

And I got right on it. I quickly ditched my pyjama bottoms for the convenient sweatpants that were on the kitchen table because I conveniently hadn’t taken the laundry up to the bedroom yet. After all I didn’t need the neighbours seeing me in my pj’s now did I?

I maneuvered the ratty blue boxes to the front door and then chose my type of footwear to get to the curb.

Boots? Too much work, just going to the curb. Shoes? With laces and everything? Nah. I will just slip on these slippers and it will be over before you can say the three R’s.

I had just warned my wife to drive carefully due to slippery conditions and I was going to wear treadless slippers to take out the recycling over what I’m pretty sure is going to be treacherous terrain? Maybe it’s a guy thing, but then again I’ve successfully donned slippers hundreds of times to take out the recycling and garbage before — but this day would be different.

I got down the stairs OK where I then decided to stack the boxes at the beginning of the downsloping driveway. Again, not too bright.

You see, my visibility was impaired and I soon hit an icy spot and I fell backwards like one of those characters in the cartoons that steps on a banana peel. Who knew slippers could be slippery?

As I fell on my side, the recycling boxes came apart and raced to the bottom of the hill in some kind of environmental exercise where virtually every piece of recycling, plastic, tin and paper was now laying exposed on my driveway like some kind of salute to Andy Warhol.

The weight of the newspaper box helped it slide the furthest by the way, proving the laws of physics are alive and well and on display in the landing.

I remember thinking on the way down, besides trying not to hit my head and that maybe I shouldn’t have worn slippers after all, that it would be good if I didn’t fall on my fake hip and require another fake hip.

Then again, I didn’t necessarily want two fake hips either. Luckily, I think, I landed on the good one and it seemed OK, although my leg and elbow hurt and my pride was definitely bruised.

I quickly surveyed the neighbourhood from my prone position and decided no one saw me fall or my salute to recycling spread out over the driveway.

I then tried to get up, and you know what, those slippers still had no grip, but I eventually got up on the fifth try so I didn’t have to call 911 and explain my choice of footwear. Not that I had a phone with me anyway.

I then dutifully picked up the 193.5 pieces of recycling, sorted them again, put them in their respective containers and headed for higher ground, successfully I might add.

I now have two weeks to think about how this scenario might have played out better.

At least I didn’t wear pyjamas and embarrass myself.

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Morning Star.


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