I don’t know about you, but thanks to the forced staying at home during the pandemic, I have actually got a promotion. I hate to brag, but the fact is that I am finally allowed to do something in the kitchen. For years, I was asked to keep away.

My hands had too many thumbs, my feet were both left and I was too distracted in the kitchen to be of any help to my wife, she said. It wasn’t planned that way – I genuinely wanted to help, but was kept out for the greater good of the family.

But last week I was allowed one concession. No, not peeling potatoes or anything like that which is well above my pay grade. But I was – hold your breath – allowed to take the garbage out. Those of you who haven’t done this might not realise what an important task it is, and to be entrusted with it at this stage in my kitchen life is both an honour and a something else which I forget now in my excitement.

"The dry garbage is different from the wet," I told my wife excitedly. This was a discovery I wanted to share with the one I loved. I had thought all these years that ‘garbage’ was a collective noun for all the uncollected stuff chucked into one big pile awaiting clearance. Clearly I was wrong.

"Yes, yes, get on with it," advised my wife in the tone she reserves for people on the phone who take a long time to get to the point, which is usually something about selling insurance.

Having done my job and entered my name in the annals of kitchen helpers, I wanted to know more. What kind of training do you need to be a garbage man? Or is that something you pick up as you go along? I said that to my wife, thinking it was a good joke to share.

"No trash talk please," she said, and now it became a contest to see who could come up with the better garbage joke. "Let’s buy a new garbage can," I said, "the old one is trash."

And so it went on. I don’t know who won in the end, although I suspect I did when I thanked her for allowing me to carry out the trash. "I have finally attained the Garb-age, thank you," I said, and left her wondering if it wouldn’t have been better to initiate me into kitchen duties by getting me to peel potatoes.

Some years ago, Woody Allen said, "In California, they don’t throw their garbage away, they make it into TV shows." Maybe he should be asked to peel potatoes too.

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