Or­na­ment ban a load of trash

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - Colin Pearce colin. pearce@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

I KNOW

how we can slash the amount of rub­bish we bury in the ground. Ban or­na­ments. Ac­cord­ing to the sta­tis­tics, the build­ing in­dus­try gen­er­ates the most rub­bish, fol­lowed by busi­ness and then lo­cal coun­cils. They have got it wrong.

If you piled up the or­na­ments owned by all the old peo­ple in Townsville, they’d make Cas­tle Hill look like a doll’s house.

Not that the old peo­ple are to blame. It’s their rel­a­tives. I speak with au­thor­ity on the sub­ject be­cause I am one ( an old per­son) and I have many ( rel­a­tives).

I don’t think I ever bought my­self an or­na­ment in my life. I have no use for a frog made of wire rid­ing a bi­cy­cle made of wire. I don’t un­der­stand the aes­thetic qual­i­ties of two fig­ures, made from bits of bark and dead leaves. And I have no shelf space left for a piece of resin that con­tains a 1953 postage stamp, un­used, that I can’t even stick on a letter.

But I have all these things. If they’d been given to me by peo­ple I didn’t like I could throw them away, but they weren’t. They were given to me by friends and rel­a­tives. I can only con­clude that they don’t like me.

Surely you wouldn’t give some­one you liked a piece of rock that looks like a lizard? It’s not even a good like­ness. It looks like a lizard that had been hit by . . . well, a piece of rock. But even so: I can’t chuck ’ em out.

If you’re un­der 40 years old, you won’t know what I mean. But de­pend upon it . . . or­na­ments are out there, and they’re com­ing your way. Ask your par­ents.

I re­mem­ber giv­ing my mother a glass thingum­my­bob that had colours run­ning through it. She cooed over it and told me how won­der­ful it would look on the win­dowsill. I was only 12.

When she died six years ago it was still there. It was only then that I re­alised it’s pos­si­ble to ex­pire un­der the weight of or­na­ments just as surely as if you’d been hit by a ton of con­crete.

I have five chil­dren and a gross or two or grand­chil­dren, and I have birthdays. You can ex­trap­o­late from these two sta­tis­tics that I’ve also paid struc­tural en­gi­neers to re­design my shelv­ing.

I’ll get my own back, though. When I die, all my or­na­ments will be be­queathed back to my off­spring and my grand-off­spring.

I mean, it was them who gave me this stuff in the first place, so they, at least, must value it.

You think? My chil­dren tell me I live in too much clut­ter, that my taste ( my taste?) in or­na­ments is aw­ful and that when I’m dead, it’s all go­ing in the bin. And then into land­fill. If we ban or­na­ments, we can save the planet.

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