I have a recurring nightmare in which I am being buried alive in a field of small, colorful, plastic trinkets. As I gasp for breath and furiously try to dig my way out, another bucket-full of plastic gets dumped on my head. No matter how hard I try, I just cannot reach air.
Oh, wait. It’s not a nightmare. It’s real life. At least real life in America.
You know what I’m talking about. The endless stream of magnets, mugs, bookmarks, and key-chains that makes its way into our homes. And the wedding and birthday party “favors.” Ain’t nobody doin’ me any favors by giving me a large magnet with a cutesy, kiss-y engagement picture of themselves. Or giving my kid a bag full of kids’ lip gloss, cheap jewelry, and erasers too tiny to use.
I am tempted to bar my kids from ever leaving the house because every time they do, they acquire a new piece of junk – stickers at the doctor’s, small toys-of-the-week at swim lessons, lollipops at the bank, bouncy balls at the dentist, tiny themed erasers at the city festival, cross-themed rubber bracelets at the Easter service. Because obviously small, pastel, plastic tchotchkes have everything to do with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God.
The stack of craft projects and worksheets ever mounting on our counters is enough for most parents to manage. Why must we heap innumerable cheap toys on top of this? The plastic is not even recyclable. The stickers will only get used to “decorate” back windows of minivans. (I grieve with you, fellow mom, driving around in your expensive, late model Honda Odyssey that’s been completely defiled by 87 stickers of Elsa and Sponge Bob.)
How do you manage the stream of junk flowing into your homes? Do you have ideas on how to limit it? Or, better yet, on how to change our society so we stop giving people plastic junk all the time? Is it like this anywhere else?
© Laura Goetsch and Thinking About Such Things, 2015.