You’ve got to love the tremendous value everyone places on a college education. It’s of such great value that everyone goes broke trying to pay for it. My latest epiphany overcomes this financial hurdle, and all that is required is a teenager, a dumpster and the kindness of strangers.
This latest bout of brainiac brilliance occurred after my wife showed me a picture on Facebook. It was a box of puppies abandoned in a dumpster; their cute little brown bodies huddled together inside the box, framed by the dumpster’s melon rinds, lettuce leaves, and various paper products.
I began weeping at the sight of the little puppies, my tears plopping on the keyboard. My wife, who had already plowed through an entire box of Kleenex, said, “The family that discovered the puppies is trying to find them a home. Should we go get them?”
My tears immediately ceased. I realized I had inadvertently showed an inkling of humanity in front of my wife. Bad move.
My beloved wife is afflicted with an endless sympathy for all living creatures. Whenever she encounters suffering, she will journey to the far ends of the earth, no matter what the cost, to provide relief.
The size of the organism doesn’t matter, either. She once insisted we nurse a felled mitochondria back to life, an ordeal that lasted several weeks and involved multiple micro-biologists. I won’t bore you with the details.
She was staring at me with weepy eyes, awaiting my answer. I decided to retaliate with Spock-like logic. “Adopt them? But the picture came from Arkansas.”
“That’s all right,” she said, beginning a search on the Internet. “All we need is a multi-puppy travel cage – why here’s one that fits 27, and it only costs $595. Then we’ll need to hire a Flight for Life helicopter, as the poor little dears can’t be made to endure a cross-country trip…” On and on she went, while I could hear my credit card begin to moan in anticipation of its heavy burden.
I snuck a peek at the Facebook page, and noticed that in the five minutes we’d been talking, over 150 families had already volunteered to adopt the puppies. Again, I began to weep, not only at the compassion at others, but at the fact that I wouldn’t need to get another job to pay for a multi-puppy travel cage.
That’s when the epiphany hit. It had nothing to do with marketing a multi-puppy travel cage – someone had already beaten me to the punch. No, this epiphany was based on the fact that when you abandon some organism in the dumpster, some kind soul will rescue it and improve its quality of life.
It was time to take advantage of the generosity of strangers, and the dumpster would be the ticket.
Absorbing the Cost of College
These days it would be cheaper to bail out Greece than to try and pay for a child’s college education. I’m all about education, but many of these universities have nothing to do with the real world, and instead redirect students to fantasyland – hours of study on esoteric subjects that couldn’t in a million years be monetized. By all means, expand their minds, but is there not room in the curriculum for one measly class on personal finance?
My role as a supreme epiphanizer is not to question societal norms, however. It’s to exploit them. Instead of ranting about the high cost of college education, I was put on this earth to find a way to weasel around them. The dumpster was just the ticket.
On a bright Saturday morning, I roused the kids and the wife. “Family, it’s time to pack up kids. We’re going to abandon you in a dumpster!”
I had anticipated cries of jubilation, as the plan seemed rather transparent, but I underestimated the density of my soon-to-be dumpster denizens.
“Dad, you’re cracked,” my daughter, known for her delicacy, responded.
“Dad, I have to study,” my son lamely mustered up a lame excuse.
“Not our babies!” my wife sobbed and swaddled her young.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I sniffed, “this is a foolproof way to pay for college.” I elaborated on the epiphany: We would take the children, dress them up as ragamuffins, and toss them in the dumpster near some swanky hotel. Then some aristocrats (providing there wasn’t puppies in the dumpster too), would find our teenagers, clean them up, and send them to a nice Ivy league school.
“Your quality of life always gets improved when someone finds you in a dumpster,” I explained. “You’ll get your college paid for, and with the cash I’ll save, I’ll go bail out Cyprus!”
I could see the family wasn’t buying it. It was time to break down the benefits. I started with the girl. “With all the money from college tuition that I’ll save, I’ll mail you a couple thousand dollars worth of gift cards for the mall,” I told her. Her eyes brightened, and she hugged me like I was a pile of cash.
I turned to the boy. “For you, a 24-piece chicken wing dinner. All to yourself.” I heard his stomach cry out in jubilation as he wiped saliva from his glistening lips.
“And you may adopt a litter of puppies,” I said to my wife, knowing full well that I could build a kennel for several thousand puppies on Cyprus with the cash I’d be saving from college.
With the family in full agreement, we headed out for a dumpster.
The Dumpster Gets a Makeover
We spent the better part of the day driving around, scouting out dumpsters. My daughter objected to the first one. “Dad, it’s like totally green,” she rolled her eyes. “It’s so ugly. And there’s no room in there with all that garbage. Can’t we find two dumpsters so we don’t have to share?”
The boy nodded. “Yeah, dad. I don’t want her make-up crap all over the dumpster.”
“You’re crap,” the girl shot back.
“Your crap is crap,” the boy retaliated.
“Honey, I don’t really care for this neighborhood,” my wife chimed in. She was checking her smart phone. “The Bensons are looking at a dumpster over on Fifth Street.”
“What do you mean the Bensons are looking?” I shrieked. “Did you share my epiphany?”
“Well I don’t want our kids to be the only ones in the dumpster,” she said. “Who will they play with?”
I gritted my teeth. “They won’t be there long. Those puppies got found lickety-split. Besides, we don’t want the kids all happy and hanging out with friends. We want them to be lonely and heartbroken.”
“I don’t,” she said. “If they’re lonely and heartbroken, then I’ll wind up pulling them out of the dumpster and taking them home. Then we’re right back where we started.”
I could not argue with that logic, or whatever it was. The day dragged on, with dumpster after dumpster getting poo-pooed. We received word that the Bensons had abandoned their search of used dumpsters, and had instead purchased a brand new, gleaming dumpster that could easily fit two teens.
“Can we get one?” the kids screamed.
“Of course we can,” my wife assured them, and the plastic in my pocket moaned once again.
After purchasing a dumpster twice the size of our house, we parked it down the street from a swanky hotel. My wife insisted on posting a “No Garbage Allowed” sign on the dumpster, and my kids loaded it up with new decor they’d purchased at Target. I left the scene, shaking my head.
We were home for about an hour when we received a call from the kids. They wanted to know if it was okay to have some friends over to their dumpster. “Of course!” my wife chirped. She was so happy the children were happy; it didn’t matter that I was sliding further into misery.
That’s when my epiphany took a turn for the better. “I’ve got it!” I shouted.
I hastily purchased several thousand dumpsters, and opened up a storefront. I snapped a few photos of my kids and the party that was raging in their dumpster, and posted in on Facebook.
Other kids, soon seeing that a trend had broken out, whined incessantly until their parents agreed to buy a dumpster for them. Soon I hired my son and daughter for the showroom floor, where they gave tours of dumpsters, and were paid a handsome commission if one sold.
In the end, we built a flourishing business, one so successful that we never even bothered with college. Although, in all fairness, I do have to tip my hat to higher education. If it wasn’t for them, our dumpster dynasty would never have come to fruition. Considering its success, I can only hope those in the Ivory Towers will make college even more unaffordable for my grandchildren.
photo by Katerina