Trash Pick-Up

Today’s post comes from the renegade skipper of the pirate ship Muskellunge, Captain Billy.

Ahoy, Landlubbers!

I don’t read much what’s printed on paper no more, but me boys regularly  spends their idle time fishin’ soggy magazines outa th’ drink.  A number of them is particularly interested in locatin’ back issues of National Pornographic on account of they is connoisseurs of th’ art form.  But more often what they finds is drenched copies of its less provocative sister publication, National Geographic.

In a recent issue me boys was flummoxed t’ discover that the amount of trash in th’ ocean is now near  5.25 trillion pieces, which amounts to a lot of anythin’, no matter what it is yer countin’!

Environmental observers bemoans th’ fact that no one is responsible fer cleanin’ up this mess.

Bein’ gentlemen of a scavengin’ nature who is naturally inclined to re-use an’ re-purpose all sorts of found debris, such as diamonds, precious metals an’ currency,  we found it fascinatin’ that much of th’ floatin’ oceanic flotsam collects in five gigantic swirlin’ zones, or gyres.

Weather an’ waves is breakin’ down much of th’ plastic into tiny microfibers, an’ sinkin’ it t’ th’ lower depths, were its presence will someday come back t’ haunt us I’m certain!    But even now there are surprises t’ be found near th’ surface.

One trash explorer related this account of collectin’ everything from plastic candy wrappers t’ giant balls of fish netting:

One massive ball of netting, found midway across the Pacific, contained 89 different kinds of net and line, all wrapped around a tiny, two-inch-high teddy bear wearing a sorcerer’s cap at the center.

Th’ thought of goin’ t’ these five gyres an’ sortin’ through them fer treasure is a mighty attractive thought, I’ll tell ya. An’ we could go along ways towards cleanin’ things up as a happy byproduct of our never endin’ search fer valuables. All you has t’ do is replace that teddy bear in th’ center of th’ trash heap with a solid gold ingot and we is definitely interested!

So this here’s our message t’ all you trashy ground dwellers – especially them older ones what is thinkin’ of downsizin’. If you must keep up the plastic an’ trash production, then at least every now an’ then take th’ time t’ wrap th’ detritus around one of yer most prized possessions!

T’ “incentivize” our collection efforts, an t’ give us somethin’ t’ hope fer, of course.

On behalf of meself an me boys,
Capt. Billy

I suspect the Captain’s plea for people to throw out their valuables will likely fall on deaf ears, but it is intriguing to think there are five spots on the global seas where all that stuff I thought was gone is now collecting. Maybe some of my socks are in the southern Indian Ocean!

Where does your flotsam collect?

70 thoughts on “Trash Pick-Up”

    1. And where DO those socks go? I have a little box in my closet full of single socks. Every now and then I find their mates, but most of them have been single for quite some time.

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      1. They’re clinging to the inside of your trouser legs. I know. New Year’s Eve we went out for dinner with a couple of friends. Toward the end of the meal I needed to go powder my nose. As I was descending the stairs to the bathrooms, a sock slowly slid out from the bottom of my right pant leg. Glad I was alone as I discretely put it in my purse.

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      2. The electromagnetic field and the centripetal force of the rotation of the dryer combine to create very small black holes. These are just large enough for one sock to be pulled into. The sock actually clogs the black hole and, as it’s collapsing, pulls the sock through. The other sides of these black holes are determined by numerous astronomical variables including relative position of the Earth, gravimetric displacement by dark matter, and if you’re using anti-static dryer sheets or not.

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  1. Good morning. I have flotsam scattered in many places in and around my home. The basement and the garage are major flotsam collection areas. Also, lots of this stuff can be found in drawers and closets plus any other place where it can be stashed or piled. I do try to avoid depositing it in public places away from my home or in the oceans.

    I am slowly trying to get ride of my flotsam. I will probably never get it all cleaned up. I have often thought that a big house fire would be a blessing. However, the impluse to get rid of this stuff by burning down my home only comes over me during rare moments when I feel really guilty about having collected all of these mostly useless items.

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  2. I kinda worry about the flotsam and jetsam in my head. Where does it all go? Wouldn’t you think that as you accumulate knowledge and trivia over the years that your head would just get bigger and bigger until you couldn’t fit through doorways anymore? I wonder.

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  3. i am reminded of the foreign exchange student who was a good friend while we wnet to school. we went to see him off at the bus and they weighed his luggage. he was overweight and they told him he had to get rid of 20 pounds. he open the suitcase and pulled out a pair of ray bans an alarm clock and a wwI rmy helmet. thats all. but ray bans they dont weigh anything. thats all i can get rid of. and lo and behold he got home wiht the resto fo his stuff.
    about the pollutionand the clenups required i am afraid i dont get it. if this were someones forn yard they would find out where it came form and have it cleaned up and send the bill. the countries and industries that are involved should be forced to clean up their mess. air pollution water polution gorund contamination.
    we are reading oil and honey for the bbc right now. how about the keystone getting ramrodded through the nebaska courts yesterday. so the filthy canadian oil can be sent to texas to be sold to the chinese. whats up . the irresponsible stewards of the planet are not able to turn back the clock, not willing to accept responsibility and not concerned about anything other than doing more of the same with no consequnces in sight..
    i have to pay rent to leave my stuff in a place where i can get to it later and if i threw it in the ocean ther ewould be a fine. or would there.

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  4. I think Cap’n Billy is lacking in optimism.

    There are plenty of valuable items that get washed away with the flotsam. Perhaps he and the boys should put out their shingle as a recovery service- no guarantees, but at least they could cash in while cleaning up the ocean.

    somewhat OT, I have a large bit of flotsam that is going to become a valuable asset by Thursday if I scored what I think I scored on eBay yesterday. Somebody must have been clearing out their flotsam and put up for sale the chunk of metal I have to have to get my item out of the flotsam category and into the “how did I manage without this” category.

    And this is the sort of situation that makes me hang onto stuff.

    For the curious among you, what I am getting is the piece that connects my knitting machine to a robotic arm (my elbows and shoulders are so excited about this- me too, because it means the robot can be doing the boring bits while I am doing the fiddlely bits on another machine!)

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      1. Yes. GS has quite the name. I just searched for it through Google and found a link to VS’s comment in an earlier blog so, rather than repeat it and lead #1son to this entry, I won’t put it here again. (Jan 2 Trail)

        #1son told me that they were looking for German first names to go with the German last name. I knew they wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) tell me the name until he was born so I started calling him Wolfie (pronounced Volfie as in the movie “Amadeus”). I mentioned the nickname I had giving to the little in-utero guy to my son. He didn’t say anything at the time but a week later said that since their intent WAS to name him Wolfgang (Wolfie – they pronounce it with the quite incorrect “W”)), they would share the secret with me. I was sworn to secrecy but told a number of my friends who don’t know #1son. Almost everyone reacted with surprise and disbelief that they would choose such a name. The last name is already tease-worthy and adding the substantial first name to it just ups the ante. He’ll either turn out to be a tough cookie or not, I guess.

        I didn’t learn about the middle name until after he was born. I asked the source of that and #1son said that they gave him that tamer middle name in case he wanted to use it instead of his first name. So there was some sense that they were giving him a handle that might be a lot to carry. It is the sort of name that could be fun to have as an adult.

        A former step-brother-in-law’s first name was Maynard. He wanted nothing to do with it when he was young and was called Mick but now he thinks it is rather cool.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Love it, Lisa, great story. I also liked tim’s response to the name, something to the effect that a boy named Sue had nothing on your GS.

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  5. It used to accumulate in the furnace room, but that was cleaned out and new shelving added. Husband has lots of stuff on his dresser that needs culling several times a year.

    The Catalan Delight from yesterday could be described as a collection of garden flotsam: garden peas, beans, tomatoes, and corn thrown together with eggplant and chunks of pork. He called it Catalan because of the tomatoes and eggplant. He has no recipe for it. It was good

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    1. Reminds me of a time when I suddenly remember I had promised to bring a soup/stew for a church potluck. I didn’t even have time to get to the store, so I started with those onion flakes in the spice cabinet and just started throwing in stuff that I had… some couscous, veggies from the freezer, a bunch of spices and then at the very end I stirred in some parmesan cheese and threw a few nuts on the top. I had several people ask me for the recipe, including someone who tracked me down a few days later via email. I should have written it up and titles it Flotsam Stew!

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  6. There is no point in my pretending on this question. Too many Baboons learned the truth about me. There was a large class of things that I kept because I wasn’t sure what I should do with them. Those things all floated this way and that until they settled out of sight in remote corners of my home: the garage, the attic, the entryway closet and especially in the basement. That went on for forty years until the Day of Reckoning finally came.

    A friend used to come to dinner, get drunk and stay overnight. He was the only friend who got to know how much crap we had stuck in odd corners of the house. I remember him being horrified by the entryway closet. He once told me that he was pretty sure he’d seen Amelia Earhart’s flight plan box in there. I couldn’t deny the possibility!

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  7. My dresser in the bedroom, my nightstand, and the table next to my recliner seem to accumulate most of the flotsam. We manage somehow to keep most other surfaces uncluttered. It really helps that the domestic fairy comes every two weeks to clean, it forces me to de-clutter at least every other week.

    We’ve recently started unpacking the last boxes from our move back into this house in 1992. They’ve spent all this time in the basement – which in our old house is a dungeon. Out of sight, out of mind. I’m rediscovering all kinds of goodies I had forgotten I had. Now I’ll have to figure out how to get rid of them.

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    1. Ignorance of their existence was bliss, wasn’t it? I’ve heard of but haven’t tried this method for removing flotsam. Put stuff in a box, tape it up well and mark it only with a year (no indication of contents). X years later, toss the box unopened because you probably haven’t needed what was in there.
      Of course, one of my reasons for not tossing is that my need to reduce re-use and recycle would demand that I try to find a better home for the contents than a dump. In order to do that, I’d have to open the box and find myself attached to the contents again.

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      1. That’s exactly the process I’m going through right now. One of the goodies in the box are silver filigree Russian glass holders for serving tea. They are beautiful, but having owned them since 1964, I have never put any effort into finding glasses for them. Now that I’m trying to find the holders a new home, I’ve done a little research and discovered that I can quite easily find glasses for them. Isn’t the internet wonderful? Now I’m contemplating acquiring glasses so I can use them instead of getting rid of them.

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        1. again, this is why I cannot get rid of things. That whole, if you haven’t used it in X years, you never will is a lot of malarkey. There are a lot of things I have not touched in years, simply because that is just not where my life is, but in a cou-ple of years when it is just me and the cats? Heck yeah I am finishing that quilt! (and a couple 100 other things)

          I WANT to be the person who uses those things.

          And yes, PJ, the internet is wonderful. I have seen Russian tea glasses and I think it is splendid you have them.

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  8. Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
    Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
    All mimsy were ye borogoves;
    And ye mome raths outgrabe.

    My soul has several gyres and many a mome rath outgrabing.

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  9. My flotsam tends to gather on the dining room table, the top of the dresser and the closet at the base of the stairs. I am afraid of what lurks in that closet – there are things that were put in there when we moved into the house 13 years ago that have not been seen since.

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  10. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    There are two drawers in the kitchen that,mom occasion, explode from the internal flotsam pressure. Then I clean and toss and start shoving stuff back in them and the cycle repeats itself. Paper clips, nail clippers, rubber bands, post-it note tablets, loose change, notes to self, lists, and tiny screws are samples of the flotsam.

    I was notified this morning by the DBT Certification Board that I PASSED THE TEST which I took Nov. 19. Piece o’cake, eh, Cap’n Billy?

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  11. I long ago noticed that most people are good about most things in life that can be a little hard. But nobody is good about everything, which is one reason we get married. What everyone could use is a sort of secretary/personal assistant/physical trainer/tax expert/house-cleaner who would do all those damned things we just hate to do or don’t do well. Then we could all do the stuff we are good at and not be driven to distraction by those very few things we tend to put off.

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    1. Of all the married people I know, I can’t think of one who has managed to get all that in a mate. I do know a few who have managed to marry someone who could afford to hire all of those services, but not many.

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    2. the problem is the secretary/personal assistant/physical trainer/tax expert/house-cleaner who would do all those damned things we just hate to do thinks that stff is important and wants to make you feel less than perfect for lacking. when its pointed out that all your stuff is lacking in them they could care less but get real upset if you take the same stance.

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  12. two thoughts about this weekends topic. the world is my flotsam and i just need to do a little better job of straightening up the coreners and keep better track of where stuff is. citizen cane had so much wonderful stuff in those crates he didnt know wher that statue was of the lady woith themissing arms but he knew he had it. my stuff is kind of like that.
    the other thought is the notion of world stewardship that no one want to own and no one want to enforce. i would like to begin filing class action lawsuits against companues and countries who are to blame and get them to realize it is my world they are screwing upa nd i care and they will be held responsible not only for the actions they get caught for biut for all the stuff they could have helped precent if they hadnt simply looked the other way when they knew the remafacations of the irresponsible choices made at our expense. i really get mad at fisherman cutting nets, factories and countries polluting the air earth and water and then claiming whatever rather than own the wrong. if we all knew we and everyone else had to pay for the deteriorating conditions caused by sluffing., it would have a chance of stopping or at least slowing. as it is, its who can get away with the least. a terrible model we will all have to pay for. lets put together a tally of the cost and bill em.

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  13. My flotsam is a moving target. I starts on the kitchen table, but I clear that and put it on a shelf in the dining room till that gets too big, then I clear that, sort it a bit and put some on the up-stairway… Eventually I have to deal with it, but it’s amazing how long it can be shuffled around.

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  14. Due to the lack of flotsam and other vehicles on ND highways, a ND legislator has introduced a bill to allow the testing of driverless vehicles here. It could be a big industry here, he thinks.

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  15. Hey there—

    We’ve been moving my mom to a smaller apartment. Luckily, it’s just down the hall; from 210 to 218. And lucky I have siblings and nephews and brother-in-laws that all show up to help.
    It’s the last little bit of flotsam that always drags you down. How can there be so much STUFF left in an empty apartment??

    I can’t be there today but said I would check in with her Monday.
    Mom is doing well. She’s out and busy and says Monday she’s just going to “forget all about this stuff”. She’s got a card game scheduled Monday afternoon.

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  16. This weekend we did the final clearing and cleaning of my dad’s bedroom where he slept at our house. I told my children that we had successfully combined the best of two households since mom and dad died, and got rid of the rest. Now they will have the same job when our time comes. I still have boxes of photographs to sort out and boxes of china to sort out and decide what we keep and what we get rid of. Daughter and son aren’t too interested in my mom’s old china, but perhaps I will have grandchildren who are. I know this kind of thinking is how houses get cluttered, but you never know!

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  17. i guess i should start a business coming and getting all the stuff people dont want to deal with. i do. i love old weird stuff that has a story i dont know. if i get the story great , if not i imagine one that is very satisfying. my hat store does well because i ask prices that values old junk in good shape. it is difficult to place a value on it so if you just put it out there and let people know it is available they will find you. i have an original jacuzzi bath that was never installed that has been on my wareshosue shelf for 5 years. it will go somewhere someday. built like a tak not like a plastic tub liner they sell as a whirlpool today. the motors weigh 30 pounds. if i had a person to list all the stuff i have in my warehouse and keep up with it i would have 10,000 or 20,000 listings,
    i saw this morning where the organ guy had a birthday today if he was alive. hammond or wurlitzer . i picked up a monster organ a couple of years ago that i hope to be able to play sometime ehnn i get it down off the rack. im sure it weighs 700 pounds with complete foot pedal rack.and three teirs of keys one notch smaller thatn the b3

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  18. In my garage, until such time as the pressure from my wife to get rid of it reaches a tipping point and it’s easier to throw or donate stuff than endure another day of nagging.

    Chris in Owatonna

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  19. There is something gyre-like about the front passenger-side seat in the car. Both the seat itself and the floor in front of it. Receipts, change, empty coffee cups, water bottles, bags, the occasional loose credit card, extra shoes/boots/mittens/hats, books, magazines, newspapers, CD’s. I don’t very often have a passenger. When I do, pre-boarding excavation is required.

    Liked by 4 people

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