A Sad Tale of Complete and Emphatic Rejection

(photo by Ed Petkus, Jr.)

Occasionally I get all civic-minded and go out and pick up trash from the roadside near my house. Over the years, the forensics associated with the process have been anecdotally generalizable. Empty booze cans and bottles are always of the cheap variety — craft beer vessels are never represented. Dunkin’ Donuts, yes — Starbucks, no. All the common species of cigarette packs, fast-food packaging, and losing lottery tickets thrive in this ecosystem.

But today I have found something unusual. A quinoa bar. Specifically, a Quaker Quinoa Chocolate Nut Medley bar.

Notice, I said a quinoa bar, not just the wrapper. This thing is unopened. Almost all of the other trash out here is post-consumer waste: the forty ounces of Bud Light had been drunk from the can I found, the twenty Newports had been smoked, all but the tiniest scraps of curly fries had been eaten. But this quinoa bar was just…chucked, intact and unexamined.

What happened?

Was it a mistake? Had the person meant to get something less Whole-Foods-esque and then realized in horror what they had indeed purchased? So much horror that the offending item could not be kept inside the vehicle for a moment longer?

Or, did some kid examining that day’s packed lunch — a lunch perhaps intended to take a small step in a healthy direction — find this 1.23-ounce intruder and quickly fling it out the school bus window rather than risk it being seen in his or her possession?

Whatever the circumstance, this was a rejection as immediate and uncompromising as a face-slap.

A product deemed by someone to be so vile, so utterly wrong, that they felt compelled to violate the law with its disposal.

I’m actually feeling a little sorry for this quinoa bar. A thought-stream briefly flows through me (hey-it’s-unopened-I-could-eat-it-restore-its-dignity-food-waste-is-a-global-problem-trust-your-immune-system), but then my gloved hand drops it into the bag.

Goodbye, little friend.

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