Point of View: Out With the Old

A heavy load

   “Where do wars and internecine strife go?” the New Year asked on arriving at the dump.
    “Here, in nonreconcilables,” came the answer.
    “Thanks, it’s a heavy load.”
    “Wait, I’ll help you,” said the supervisor, sweeping some ancient antipathies into the pit as he made his way to the overstuffed van with the YR-2013 plate.
    “Here I am tossing them out and they’re not even paid for!”
    “Tell me about it, we’re a wasteful country. I’ve got some credit card debt of my own. My hair’s starting to turn gray and I’ve still got student loans to pay. Maybe if enough bright kids were able to receive an education without putting them in hock forever they could help get us back on track. . . . Oh, while I’m at it, deferred dreams go in that bin over there. I imagine you’ve got a few of those.”
    “Yes, I found the path to citizenship littered with them. I picked up as many as I could.”
    “What else you got?”
    “Well, there’s gallons of vitriol and countless vials of vilification, and decanted rants left over from the latest campaign. . . .”
    “They go in with the glass, broken promises, and shattered hopes. No, wait; they’re too flammable. Better put them with the assault and batteries, snake oil, and blown fuses down at the end of the shed.”
    “How about frivolous lawsuits?”
    “In the fear and clothing bin that’s on your way out.”
    “And all these amputated limbs?”
    “Limbs? Limbs go with the leaves and brush out back.”
    “And myriad miscarriages of justice?”
    “That sounds like a medical question. Hold on to them for a bit, I’ll have to ask.”
    “I guess it’s the same with bad blood. . . . Where do I unburden myself of hidebound religious beliefs?”
    “They’re rigid, right?”
    “Exceedingly so.”
    “You needn’t rip them apart, just lay them to rest with the cardboard.
. . . By the way, you don’t have any discarded Bushmasters? We’ve got a special area for disarmed firearms now.”
    “I wish I could say I did . . . I wish I could say I did. . . . “
    “Well, buck up, kid,” the supervisor said as the van with the shiny new bumper sticker began to pull away from the drop-off area. “The new year’s just begun. We’re Americans, we’re programmed to be hopeful. We’ve got no choice!”