Taking Out the Trash

a radio commentary broadcast on Jefferson Public Radio, April 29, 1997
(C)1997 by Fred Flaxman
timing: 2:06

HOST: Who takes out the trash in your house? And what does that say about your home management skills, your spouse, your children and your politics? Here's Jefferson Daily commentator Fred Flaxman to fill you in on this messy topic:

FLAXMAN: When I was growing up, I was put in charge of taking out the garbage. When I became an adult, I got married and had two children. My wife took care of the children. I took out the garbage. When my children were old enough to take out the garbage... they didn't. I did. Now I am 56 years old, and I still take out the trash.

Conservatives teach their kids to take out the refuse. Either that or their maids do it for them. Liberals feel guilty about employing servants, even when they can afford to, and they spend their whole lives taking out the garbage themselves.

Conservatives are better at delegating and giving orders. Liberals are better at communicating, relating to others, understanding the oppressed, and taking out the trash.

Despite feminism, despite the new male movement, despite the cracking of the glass ceiling and the politically correct tide against sexist role assignments, heavy-duty garbage work is still the unique province of the human male.

Yes, you will see women take out the household trash and put it in the garbage can. And more women than men handle the waste baskets of the world. But I have yet to see a woman working on a garbage truck. And, as many times as I've been to the local dump -- excuse me, I mean sanitary landfill -- I've never once run into a woman there, unless she was waiting in the pick-up cab for her man to finish cleaning out the back. Nor have I once heard the National Organization for Women complain about sexism in the refuse industry!

My wife has never been to the dump. I think it would be beneath her dignity. My daughter admits to going once or twice before she was married. She says that, in a rural area like southern Oregon, it's a better place to meet responsible men than in a bar. At least they take out the trash. The closest my son ever gets to a sanitary landfill is when he dumps his digital trash into the pail icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen on his Macintosh computer.

So I guess I'll continue to take out the garbage... until the day I join the subterranean world of wastes myself.

HOST: "Jefferson Daily" commentator Fred Flaxman was once in charge of the premier public radio station in the Nation's Capital. He is now responsible for taking out the trash at his home in southern Oregon. He's working on several books he hopes don't turn out to be a bunch of garbage.