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One family refuses to give up on its appliances, even if their landlord already has


A garbage disposal's downward spiral -- illustration by Josh Carroll
A garbage disposal’s downward spiral — illustration by Josh Carroll
By Scott Wilson

It saddens us to know that one day, possibly soon, our garbage disposal will leave its earthly bonds, becoming another in a long legacy of appliances whose souls this house has claimed. Last month the George Foreman Grill jumped off the counter to its death. The weather radio and the boom box met a similar fate on a dark night some days later. Lovers, they leapt off the shelf together, leaving smashed bits of plastic and silicon in the carpet to remind any barefoot passerby of their sacrifice. We replace what we can but no warranty covers a broken heart.

The garbage disposal has not lived an easy life. He came into our stewardship, the poor thing, with a bit of an addiction. He craves that which he should never have: glass. We can’t leave a tumbler, shot or mug in the sink for more than a few seconds before he tries to suck them down to his spinning jaws.

We assume he developed this trait from his previous guardians. We know they were a questionable lot by the condition in which they left the refrigerator: It went insane on our third week at the house and began drooling incessantly, ruining all the food inside. Maintenance had to take it away.

Sadly, the garbage disposal is forever altered by his cravings and subsequent imbibings. His teeth are badly dented and, if he is working too hard, a smoke rises from beneath the sink and the scent of ozone mixed with dishwater gags whoever is within sniffing range. Only after a few seconds of warm-up is he able to suck anything more substantial than ramen noodles, but once he gets going the kitchen counter will shake with his vigor.

We’ve been trying to guide him to a more productive lifestyle and he is making progress. He especially likes to watch celery sticks spin and writhe while he slowly sucks them down the drain. But they say glass is a gateway drug. We’ve caught him taking small hits of fork and butter-knife when he thinks we aren’t paying attention. We’re afraid that he may one day want to try a sniff of can opener, or worse, Pyrex. If he meanders down these paths then surely he is lost.

We aren’t prepared to bury another appliance, but with every passing moment our wayward garbage disposal slips closer to the abyss. Tonight, a traveling repairman is supposed to visit. With him may be our last chance at solace. Until he comes, the hours and minutes pass like boulders down an eroding hillside. These troubling times have put immense strain on our household; however, we are a family and will hold together to see our garbage disposal through to whatever conclusion the fates decide.

 

This letter was originally written to my landlord to remind him of the house-care issues he’d been ignoring.

Scott Wilson graduated from the University of Iowa where he studied being nice and reading quietly by himself. His work has been featured in Chinese in-flight magazines, Canadian music blogs and strange one-off literary journals. In the past he has dabbled in black magic, voodoo and human sacrifice—but it was a phase. Scott’s a good boy now. Read more of his stuff at Quipmag.com. 


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