Love and Garbage in the Ninth Circle of Hell

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous: The Basic Text for the Augustine Fellowship; Sex, Lies and Forgiveness Couples Speak on Healing from Sex Addiction by Jennifer P. Schneider and Burt Schneider; Confessions of a Gynecologist by Anonymous, M.D.; You and Your Husband’s Mid-Life Crisis by Sally Conway; Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet G. Woititz; The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. All books in paperback; each book, including The Scarlet Letter, was annotated and dog-eared.

Apparently, the dump is a place where people air their dirty laundry. Based on the annotations, these books were definitely used, and I hope for their readers’ sake, used up. I like to think that the books served their purpose, helped the readers work out their problems. Their presence at the dump signifying that the problems were taken care of. But probably not.

The dump is part confessional where the trashy obsessions of one’s messy daily life are deposited in the early morning or near dusk, before the neighbors arrive with their apple cores, moldy bread, and empty boxes of wine. Unburdened of their sins, one leaves the dump recycled.

Yet there is also an element of the New England town square, where Ellsworth’s Hester Prynnes and Reverend Dimmesdales proclaim their adulteries and addictions before their brethren gathered around the cardboard containers of full of Viagra ads, National Enquirers, and the husks of discarded cases of Miller Lite.

But for all the dump’s power to make one clean, it is ultimately a Hell. A place of sin and damnation. That is why it is full of the devil’s work of Judith Krantz and Danielle Steel. These authors are the succubi of soccer moms everywhere, whispering impure thoughts into bejeweled ears as they watch the kids futilely and without purpose chase a ball around. And down in the ninth circle, like Satan himself, preens Ivana Trump in her pink, furry hat, guilty of betraying literary taste, gnawing on the muskrat atop the Donald’s head for all eternity.



dan visel said...

Just a quick note to say how much I like this series!

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