Normally, I only think I am a piece of garbage when I am feeling particularly self loathing, but when it comes to the phrase, you are what you eat, I am truly a piece of garbage. I do not advocate eating garbage generally but I also cannot change my past. I once willingly, and free of dares ate garbage out of a trash can. I would do it again, and I hope you can see why by the end of this story.
In fifth grade I was growing so fast that my socks were constantly visible like I was doing a Pee Wee Herman impression. When you don’t stop growing, you don’t stop eating. Of all my deepest food desires, my sweet tooth was the hardest to ignore. My Sweet tooth is so bad, as I am writing this, I am thinking about the sleeve of cookies I am going to devour once I finish. They are knock-off Samoas but that is not important.
We had hot lunch at our school catered by a delicious Italian restaurant that was run by the a family who attended the school. The school got a great deal and we got food that tasted much better than we deserved.
I was the youngest of five and my mom had packing a brown bag lunch down to a science, so I rarely got hot lunch. Most days I would have two bologna sandwiches on white, an apple, and a cookie. I’m not complaining I loved having the same thing every day and I loved bologna on white, but I was always jealous of the cookie that came with the hot lunch. What made my desire worse was that they were so good that no one would trade.
When I remember the cookies now, what stands out to me was the size and texture of the chocolate chunks and the overall texture of the cookie. It was soft and moist, but not bendy. You could sink your teeth into it, but there was no crunch. The chocolate chunks were thick and soft. Needless to say the overall taste was amazing. The cookies were from a restaurant small enough to taste like mom made them, but big enough to master the mass-produced consistency that makes Oreos perfect every time. I was ready to do almost anything to get my hands on those cookies.
One day throwing away my brown bag lunch, hungry for a sweet fix ,I saw something magical. Someone made the outrageous choice to throw away their cookie without even touching it. Their tray was empty with just the remnants of pasta sauce and caesar dressing with a cookie resting on the corner. The girl flip the tray and in slow motion I watched the cookie tumbled into the open trash bin. In even more spectacular fashion, I saw the cookie bounce and come to rest perfectly on the back of a box of Lunchables that my friend Michael P. had just thrown away.
I could see that the cookie was not touching any real trash, just the cardboard box. If a Lunchables box were sitting on a table I would happily rest my cookie on the box without reservation. I didn’t take time to think and I grabbed the cookie and started chowing down before someone could dump real trash on my cookie.
There was immediate reaction from those around me, “Murphy are you eating out of the trash. Don’t your parents give you enough food!”
I tried to defend myself and explain, “No, guys you don’t understand! The cookie landed on a Lunchables box which just happened to be in the trash. If that Lunchables box was sitting on a table…”
But it was no use. My flawless logic was lost on the gang of children now crowding around to call me a trash eater.
The ridicule only hardened my resolve. I stand by my actions and I would do it again. That cookie was delicious and it is not my fault that other people cannot wrap their head around the fact that it is possible for a completely clean landing surface to exist inside of a trash bin.
Believe me, I regret plenty in my life but eating that cookie it is far from something I regret.