Blog Post and Flash Fiction: Advanced Race Purgers

by Chris McGinty

Odd thought today. As a society, are we hoarders?

To be clear, I’m not asking if the majority of individuals in our society fit into the category of hoarder. I want to know whether or not in the cosmic scheme of things, would alien races from another galaxy look at our planet and say, “They really need to do a drawer reset if you know what I mean, Zlorp.” And then Zlorp would be all like, “You’re referring to the fact that humans have genitals.” And then the other alien who I didn’t name, because… um, only 50% of their race has names. So that other alien would be all like, “No not those drawers.” This is really going nowhere, but I officially wrote my flash fiction for today while writing my blog post. It’s the minimalist in me.

I often joke that I’m a borderline hoarder. I guess if I was like Jerry Seinfeld and wrote jokes every day, I might have even come up with advanced stage pack rat, but who has time to be witty? The whole pack rat, hoarder, Imelda Marcos terms are loose definitions at best. I’m pretty sure my dad thinks I’m a hoarder; but I don’t think I’m a hoarder, because I throw out expired yogurt.

So if we were able to see other worlds with advanced civilizations in the universe, would we look around our planet and think, “We really need to declutter.” I’m not talking about population, so don’t get all dystopian on me. But we do keep a lot of stuff. Follow me for a moment here.

Steven Wright has a joke: “I have the world’s largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world… perhaps you’ve seen it.”

Now, to completely ruin that joke for everyone by getting all serious. (Zlorp and his endless, nameless friend, who both have amazing senses of humour would frown at me for this… if their species was capable of frowning) If we think about this planet as our home, then by throwing all of our disposable junk into landfills it’s like a hoarder on that TV show (I can’t remember what it’s called) having piles of trash in the corners of their bedroom and living room and next to their toilet.

I understand that not all trash can be handled without having landfills. I’m not criticizing landfills. I’ll do that blog post later. I’m criticizing our lack of reducing, reusing, and recycling. In the future, we’ll have resources from other planets and from asteroids and we’ll have the means by which to launch our trash at the sun so that we don’t have to worry about disposable products floating in our oceans, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here.

I have the world’s largest collection of empty Dr. Pepper cans… no joke. I’m pretty sure it’s true.

Bowerman landfill, Irvine, 1999” by Orange County Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

If you think that this post is just a thinly disguised environmental propaganda piece then you misunderstand me, or I’m a terrible writer, or both. What I’m saying regardless of your view on environmentalism is that I bet you there are planets where the filth is part of the world aesthetic and I bet there are planets where they were wise enough to not use nonbiodegradable materials as excessively as we do. I just wonder where we are on that leaderboard. What with all the internet and the YouTube videos and the fact that we feel like we need cryptocurrency. We have piles of trash even in our virtual spaces. You should have seen my farm on Farmville. I had enough fuel to blow up the whole Zynga building.

I suspect that if people from hundreds of years ago saw the amount of stuff that even avid minimalists have in their homes in our modern society, they would wonder why we think we need so much crap, meaning that most people who wouldn’t even consider themselves pack rats, much less hoarders, have a lot of unnecessary clutter in their homes. I think that all told we keep our planet pretty clean. Compare it to the issues in the past during the great depression and when the horses that hauled the horse crap out of town allegedly crapped too much while they were hauling to ever be able to remove all the horse crap. I don’t know if that really happened, but I was told it did. But would we look at other worlds and think, “Compared to the Ximblians in the Alpha Romeo galaxy, we sure do hold onto a lot of useless crap.”

Anyway, let’s check in on Zlorp and the other one. They got back to their planet and were discussing how code enforcement should probably visit Earth and tell them to clean it up a little bit. Then Zlorp said, “One thing I will say about the Earthers, they know how to keep the number of species low. They purge those daily with their pollution initiative.” So Zlorp and the other one wiped out all of the Feljiblian nether fishes from the planet, as any minimalist would do.

Surprise ending. It was environmental propaganda all along.

Chris McGinty is an environmen… oops, I mean is a blogger and flash fiction writer who isn’t opposed to SEO. He just didn’t want to clutter the blogs from January with a whole bunch of tags and such. He’s also the leader in Farmville jokes in 2024, just by coming up with one Farmville joke.

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