The Archaeology class at my high school does this thing where students bring a bag of trash from home. Students then must examine other students’ trash and explain what they can about the family whose trash they’re rummaging through. What are the cultural traits? It’s a fun activity and an exercise in deduction and assumption. I remember one student who came across a diaper in the trash he was analyzing. He concluded that the family had a baby. He was wrong. The baby had visited the house with his mother.
I’m standing at the locker room sink, staring down at the trash can, confused.
The trash can (or is it a waste basket?) has one lone item caught in its plastic bag. A discarded, half-eaten, dried slice of pizza.
The number of scenarios running through my head are too many. I can’t wrap my brain around the life of this pizza.
Did someone bring in a slice of last night’s pizza in case he got hungry while at the gym? But why is it in the trash by the showers? Did the pie man take the slice into the shower with him, scrubbing with one hand, while eating with the other?
The pizza does look awfully dry, as if someone was trying to make jerky out of it. Did the man bring the slice into the shower in order to hydrate it some, and in the process got some accidental lather on it so tossed it, half eaten?
What would an Archaeology class deduce about the culture of this locker room, given the lone article of waste? I can only guess that the students would believe the locker room to be some sort of kitchen or restaurant where perhaps the food is so good that only one piece of pizza was left on a plate. Maybe it was from the plate of a child who just couldn’t finish, and his parents had already eaten their plates clean, twice, that they couldn’t possibly muster one more piece.
And why is this pizza so dry? How many days old is it? How hungry was the soap snacker that he just had to chomp a few bites of cardboard-dry pizza? And why is this the only piece of garbage in the waste can? No tissues? Paper towels? Fingernail clippings?
Come to think of it, dry fingernail clippings might make for a possible topping of this dry, crusty pizza.
Did pizza man bring the pie in his gym bag? Did it rub up against his anti-fungal bar or deodorant spray, giving it a slight medicinal taste, which is why the man ate only half? Did he bring the dried slab in a lunch pale, complete with an ice pack to keep it cool and further dry it into something resembling sand morsels from Desert Storm.
Whatever the case, I don’t want to judge, and I don’t want to assume. The Archaeology class activity should teach me that. So, I can only believe that the pizza came with the plastic bag in the waste can. A sort of practical joke bag. If so, man, it’s a good one. What’s next? A human head?