Sunday, May 18, 2008

i want my junk back

On Friday night, I produced some noxious junk. A friend and I were at our favourite pub, and had got past the social niceties to that lovely moment when you usually settle down to a cosy chat.

That's when I did it. About 5 minutes into the cosy chat phase, I made a remark about her marriage. Not only was my statement embarrassingly true, it was as insensitive as tweezing an eyebrow with a wrench. What made it worse was the way my friend tactfully steered the conversation around my remark, like she was stepping around dog poop on a pavement.

I want my statement back.

And while I'm at it, I also want to take back the 4-letter word that slipped out my mouth last month, while telling a funny story to a friend's mother-in-law (the ending wasn't funny, that's one place I'm probably never getting invited to again). And that despicable salwar kurta my aunt had given me and which I had promptly donated to my maid... I want it back with retrospective effect, before the day my aunt visited and my maid wore it to work...

If there were a return policy on the rubbish we say and do, the rules would be different from store policies. Firstly, the seller (eg. me with my foot in my mouth), would have absolutely no grumpy clauses about coming back in 24 hours or avoiding busy saturday mornings; on the contrary, it would be a homecoming complete with open arms and a fatted calf. Then there's the issue of damage - you wouldn't worry about damaged merchandise, your concern would be about the damage it has caused to the unsuspecting receiver.

And the last issue is of cost - if brain surgeons came up with a way to erase the memory of actions or words from receivers, they would make much more money than cosmetic surgeons who pump stars with silicon. And the steep fees wouldn't have to be paid by patients, the people with tongues that run away with them would be more than happy to bear all costs.

I know I would, if I could get back all the rubbish I've said, and never mind the market rates.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

u got junk mail

In the last few weeks, I've realised that I've turned into a digital rag picker. My cursor has been wading through page after page of hits on junk - I must be the only person in history to go beyond page 5 on google search.

But it's been worth it, here are two of the latest gems I unearthed.
One is the term upcycling - which is the practice of taking something that is disposable, and transforming it into something of greater use of value. Besides describing a useful concept, the word has the additional advantage of adding tact and intellectual quotient to everyday conversations. For example, if you don't want to tell a colleague that his presentation sucks, you could say "Your presentation is a perfect candidate for upcycling!"

The second gem is the picture above - by artist Sandy Schimmel. She puts upcycling into practice by creating art out of junk mail and flyers. Enjoy.