Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Moral Dilemma

Or, Do Morons Have Rights?

There is a composting box in my yard. It is a cube about a yard in each dimension. I don't know how it got there -- perhaps some tenant of long ago put it there. My current tenant is a worst-case holier-than-thou environmentalist and all-around dipstick and uses the composter religiously. Lately even I have begun to occasionally throw things in there.

Recently I was at Costco buying among other things a new supply of paper plates. One kind said on the package that it was compostable. A moment's thought and another of inspection showed that meant that the plates did not have the usual water-resistant coating. Which means that they are lousy as paper plates. But, doing my duty to Mother Earth, I got them anyway. (My excuse for using paper plates is that I am saving water to wash dishes in, natural gas to heat the water, and avoiding putting detergent into the drain water. Actually I just can't be bothered to wash dishes.)

So I started tossing the paper plates in the composter with the food scraps. A few days later my tenant mentioned that someone was putting paper plates in the composter. I explained that it was me, that they were a compostable variety of paper plate, and that it was okay. She had gone to the trouble to remove the paper plates from the composter and put them in the garbage can.

Now comes the dilemma. Subsequent to the explanation, mirabile dictu, she has continued to fish the paper plates out of the composter and put them in the garbage can. Mind you, a composter may be morally and ecologically immaculate, but physically it is a disgusting pile of rotting, stinking garbage crawling with flies. Which means that every time I throw a paper plate in the composter, I and her stupidity and controllingness condemn her to dive into that disgust and filth to get it out. I am her landlord and am giving her an excellent deal on the rent so she cannot actually confront me about it.

So the question is: am I being a schmuck for deliberately throwing the paper plates in the composter? Actually that is no question at all. Of course I am. The real question is, should I continue to do it? And that, like the first, is no question at all. Of course I should. That combination of stupidity and piety deserves whatever it can be made to inflict on itself. And it makes me laugh.


  1. a non-crazy environmentalist10:10 PM

    Your tenant is a lousy composter, too. Good compost piles aren't filthy, putrescent bogs of ick that offend the senses from 50 paces away.

    Does she rotate the compost regularly?

  2. Rotate the compost? Surely you jest....