One Man’s Trash

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Photo Credit: Trevor Owens

Photo Credit: Trevor Owens

The other night, a couple of ASC alumni (now Rockhurst faculty) were over at the residence to play some Settlers of Catan: Cities and Knights Expansionwhen I realized that Erik Gustafson had a jug of anti-freeze sitting next to our barbarian port.

“Hey, Erik,” said I. “What’s with the anti-freeze?”

“I bought this four years ago,” he testily replied. (It had been a heated game to this point.) “And now I’m taking it home.”

Um…okay.

Things got weirder when Andrew Wilson (physics teacher/ASC 21/amateur accordionist/fantasy football commissioner/awesome mustache wearer) abandoned our as of yet unsettled land to scavenge through the kitchen pantry. He emerged, moments later, with a bag of dried chili peppers.

“Aw, dude, I can’t believe these are still here.”

“What?”

“They’re great for making curries and stuff.”

“Where did you even find those?”

He returned to the game, setting the chilies next to Erik’s anti-freeze, and since Brad Tharpe (ASC 22) was also present, I told him that he might as well take something, too.

“Well, now that you mention it, that is my copy of St. Elmo’s Fire on VHS.”

And I thought the barbarians were larcenous!

Ah, board game references… Later that night, post-pilfering, it occurred to me that our residence is home to a rather eccentric collection of cultural history. What I’m saying is that we have a bunch of weird s#@!. Some of it has been given to us. For example, thank you KC Jesuit Community for your extra MAGIC BULLET. Other things (very much like Stonehenge) have just sort of always been here, as if from the beginning, with no explanation regarding origin or intrinsic strangeness. I’m thinking of our GIANT remote control with its GIANT buttons (I mean, come on, was this made for a TV from Brobdingnag?), and what’s the story behind that Homer Simpson frosted pint glass taking up residence in the back of our cabinet?

Of course, to be fair, Alex and I have contributed our own oddities to the home: stacks of unreturned reading quizzes, a bucket of Chick-Fil-A sauce packets, a Champions of Catan Victory Crown Macgyvered via cardboard, a box of Sam’s Club Bisquick from that one time I thought it’d be a good idea to make six million pancakes, the plastic Baby Jesus lying facedown on our kitchen table which, devoid of the surrounding King Cake, actually looks rather naked and vaguely disconcerting.

What will the next generation of Rockhurst ASC think of these treasures, I wonder? Will they laugh? Will they scratch their heads? Will they ask themselves, “Who were these people that left such stuff behind? And how could anyone ever hope to eat so many Chick-Fil-A sauce packets in one lifetime? Like seriously, did they own stock in the company?”

For that matter, I wonder, too, when this year is past, what we will have left behind with our students. If not physical curios, then perhaps intellectual ones? Or emotional? Or spiritual? And what will these students have left behind with us?

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