Cherry Bomb Art

The City of Toronto has a service that picks up hazardous waste.  It is called “Toxic Taxi.”  You call 311, Toronto’s non-emergency number for City services, and schedule a pickup.  This service is free.

I scheduled a pickup for some old paint cans and dead batteries.  I tried to include an unused Cherry Bomb firecracker that a previous tenant had left behind.

“We don’t take unused firecrackers,” said the 311 operator.

“But it’s hazardous,” I said.

“It is, but we don’t take unused firecrackers.  If it was used, then you could throw it in the regular garbage.”

“I don’t plan to use it.  How do I dispose of it?”

“You will have to call a private company that disposes of such items to come and pick it up.”

“Idfts!” I thought to myself.

“Idfts!” stands for “I don’t fuckin’ think so!”   These words made such an impression on me when I first heard them many years ago.  I watched the police arresting a man for being drunk.  The man shouted the words with such power and conviction.  He felt that he was not drunk, and he was not going to let the police arrest him.  So, when the police told him that he was under arrest for being drunk, he said, “I don’t fuckin’ think so!”

Over the years, I have used these words when I was determined not to do something that someone was telling me to do.  I also used them when I did not agree with what someone was saying.  Depending upon the people who were around me, and in the interest of good manners, I would either say the sentence out loud or think it.  The same applied to the first letters of the words in the sentence.  I would either say the letters out loud or think them.

I was not going to call a private company and pay to have them pick up one unused firecracker.  “Idfts!” I thought.

I hung up the phone wondering how I was going to dispose of the Cherry Bomb firecracker.  And then Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, appeared before me.

“Turn it into non-hazardous art,” she said and disappeared.

Inspired by Thalia’s words, I took an empty Life Brand Mouthwash bottle and put the Cherry Bomb in it.  Then I filled the bottle with water and duct-taped the cap to ensure a good seal.  What a work of art!  I called it Cherry Bomb In Life Brand Mouthwash Bottle Filled With Water.

One day, Cherry Bomb In Life Brand Mouthwash Bottle Filled With Water will be worth millions.  It will be on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, where people from around the world will come to see it.  A tour guide will tell a crowd gathered around it, “Although he did not sell his art during his lifetime, Gary Johnston’s art now sells for millions of dollars.  Cherry Bomb In Life Brand Mouthwash Bottle Filled With Water shows Johnston maturing as an artist.  It marked the end of his Blue Period.  But no one knows why it was called his Blue Period.  Notice how Johnston captured the ideas of his time: water polluted by a Cherry Bomb inside a mouthwash bottle.  What a genius!  What a genius!”

And then Thalia appeared and interrupted my daydream.  She said, “Idfts!”




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About the Author

I am Minnie and Chic's son.