Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A short but meaningful conversation:

[JW is heating up his lunch on a plate; there is a woman in the office "kitchen" peeling an orange, and dropping the peelings into the garbage]

JW: [after a thoughtful look and pause] "Ma'am, did you know that that bucket right there is for compost?" [in fact, there is a compost bucket just six inches from the garbage, faithfully maintained by a coworker of JW]

Woman: "I know. I don't even bother."

[So spoken, approx 12:05 today]


Blogger Brendon Etter said...

(The Story continues...)

JW: You could, you know, just... uh... put the orange peels in the compost bucket.

Woman: What are you, some sort of fascist?

JW: No.

Woman: Do you know who invented composting?

JW: Farmers, several hundred years ago?

Woman: (makes buzzer noise) Wrong! Guess again.

JW: Concerned scientists?

Woman: Wrong again! Give up?

JW: Yeah, I guess... I guess so.

Woman: Answer is - Josef Stalin!

JW: No way!

Woman: The Communist Party originally started out as an organic fertilizer collective in the former Soviet Georgia.

JW: Nuh-uhh!

Woman: Yeah-huh! Stalin himself built the world's first tumbler for composting materials.

JW: You're a liar!

Woman: Nope. The communists literally made millions off that shit.

JW: How do you know all this?

Woman: You don't want to know.

JW: You're making it all up!

Woman: (hangs her head, peels last peel off the orange, puts her hands down on the edge of the sink to steady herself, dramatically the last peel falls from her grasp, bounces off the compost bucket's lip and lands on the kitchen floor) Because my name is Olga. I am Josef Stalin's granddaughter. I have to renounce my past to survive! Never again! Never. Again. (she turns slowly, takes one step, slips on the orange peel, falls backward, smashing head against cast iron sink, crumples to the floor)

JW: (in shock, goes to woman's side, dramatically) NO!! Don't you die on me! Don't you die, Josef Stalin's grandaughter, don't you dare! No!! (he picks up the offending orange peel, stares it down with hate and tears filling his eyes) You bastard!!! (tosses orange peel in the garbage, while saying) I'll never compost again!! (back to woman) I'm done! No more! I'm sorry I tried to make you compost! How could I have known!? (she dies with one last gasp, reaching to touch JW's cheek, JW holds her close, crying, angry, then puts her head down, grabs compost bucket and throws it through the window, all the while shouting) U! S! A! U! S! A! U! S! A!

(lights fade out as shouts die down)


(PS: Josef Stalin's daughter Svetlana -possibly now named Lana Peters- is eighty years old and living in a retirement home in ... wait for it... Wisconsin. She had a daughter with Frank Lloyd Wright's chief apprentice in the early 1970s. She was in her mid-40s at the time. It's true. I'm not making this up.)

11:24 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Well done... as it could only be finished by the master of A Play a Day.

I was just back in the kitchen again, and I was thinking that if I were to see the woman today, I may ask her if she is related to Stalin...

Here is my follow up question: are other people bothered by happenings like this, or am I just too intense when it comes to these issues? I feel like I could tone down my intensity to high-mid range if the majority of the world could just amp their's up to even low-mid range.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Brendon Etter said...

Don't dial things down, man. We often have too much compromise on these things. Let's take some bigger steps. Someone's got to be the force behind it. If you dial down, what's the incentive for people to dial up? You have to work it, pull people along for a long while. Many people are getting it; not most people, but many. Slowly, the war is being fought. You are one warrior among many. I thank you.

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