Broken Things

Pablod Neruda wrote a poem titled “Oda a las cosas rotas” (ode to broken things) that I’ve loved since the first time I read it. Kenny Wayne Shepherd did a song called “Everything is broken” that stirs up the same feelings in me.

They both sort of make me think about modern society, and how we are all “consumers”. It makes me think of all those shows about messy houses, hoarders, and storage buildings that are being cleared out at auction. So much sadness.

Here lately, that poem and that song have been on my mind a lot.

The front door of the magic bus closes, but only if you slam the everloving shit out of it. The weedeaters won’t start without a fight, and even if you get them started–good luck keeping them running. The four wheeler battery is dead. One of Sunshine’s trucks is constantly experiencing mechanical issues. Mr. B has a truck sitting here that won’t hold a charge and therefore won’t crank. One of the magic bus roof vents has lost its handle that cranks it open. The roof of the magic bus has a leak in it. The poop tank hose keeps exploding out of the pvc pipe it drains into. I could go on and on.

What the hell is up with all this half-working shit we have around here? It’s ludicrous, really.

When we cleaned out Sunshine’s warehouse, we uncovered broken mortar mixers, broken pneumatic tools, broken furniture, broken tiles, a broken utility trailer, and a broken overhead projector (just to name a few of the broken things we found).

It’s insane, the amount of stuff we seem to break as a society. It’s utterly senseless that we hold on to so much broken shit. Really, that $6 toaster from that big box retailer that broke before it could finish toasting even one box of frozen waffles, that toaster that was designed to be disposable? Once it breaks, why do we hang on to it? Why do we even buy this shit? Why doesn’t anybody make shit that can be repaired anymore?

Our clothes, our dishes, our towels, our computers, our phones… It’s all built to be obsolete in a few months if it even lasts that long. One-cup coffee makers that cost half a car payment that are broken in a matter of months and aren’t made to be repairable? (Let’s ignore the fact that one-cup coffee makers are the stupidest shit ever invented because really, who drinks only one cup of coffee? And if you do drink only one cup of coffee, I don’t trust you.)

I don’t get it. We here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere are supposed to be transitioning to a simpler life, and yet here we are with all this broken shit that we don’t get rid of. What’s simple about that? All that time and money wasted storing all that broken shit, moving all that broken shit from here to there…

It all makes me want to start the biggest bonfire I’ve ever seen. Or maybe just do as Neruda suggests, and dump it all into the ocean.



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