Garbo’s Da Name, Garbage Is My Game! (Angel in the Kitchen)


We have an indispensable “kitchen angel” (a true paisano) named Signor Garbo. We say “indispensable” because, honestly, we couldn’t get along without him … or the valuable service he provides. Garbo doesn’t say much, but he can handle whatever we throw at him. And we throw a lot at him: slimy egg shells, bruised and quickly browning fruit peelings, and paper towels soggy from mopping up various liquids we’ve spilled — to list just a few of the icky things we dump on Garbo. But our old friend takes it all in stride. He knows we need a way of getting rid of “stuff” — which is how he came into our lives in the first place.

Garbo is our kitchen trash can. He knew we had a “problem” in the form of unpleasant things that needed to be removed from our lives in the kitchen. “I’m in da disposal bizness,” he told us one day. “Yeah, I know. It’s a doity job, but somebody’s gotta do it!”

True, every kitchen needs a trash can, a place to put all the unpleasant things generated during the process of cooking and eating, like the stinky fish head we recently lopped off so we could finish preparing dinner. “Don’t worry ’bout it,” Garbo reassured us. “I’ll take care of dis.”

Garbo is a loner. Not that he has to be, he’s an accepted and valued part of our kitchen. But he realizes that he daily has a lot of contact with some pretty vile things. He once told us, “Da stuff I’m holdin’ inside me don’t exactly bring out da best conversation.” So he absents himself from the company of our family of kitchen angels. Signor Garbo chooses instead to hang out under the kitchen sink, behind closed cabinet doors. But when things don’t go as planned, like the other day when we fumbled what should have been a routine job — making a jelly sandwich and, yes, the bread always does land jelly-side down — we call on Garbo to help us clean up the scene of the crime. “My job is ta help get rid of da garbage,” Garbo proudly states. “An’ I’m da best at whut I do.”

Periodically, Garbo’s contents get driven to the outskirts of town to be “dropped off”! Garbo says it’s for the best: “Dat way, we get rid of all da evidence — no one’s ever gonna know ya ate all dem cookies by yaself!”  Yes, it’s true, Garbo is also the custodian to a few secrets which, should they ever come to light, might prove somewhat embarrassing. “Relax, will ya?” he reassures us. “I know da best way ta handle a nasty bit a bizness! After all, I’m a professional!”

Aha, Signor Garbo is a professional! And we amateurs can learn a valuable lesson from him. We certainly did. We once rented a movie for our Friday Date Night. It was a seemingly innocuous bit of escapist fare, but 15 minutes into the story there was a totally disgusting act of violence which, although off camera, was extremely nauseating to think about. Along with that, an overuse of vulgarity and a truly dark depiction of life had us feeling positively ill. In fact, we felt (to quote Garbo) “absotively doity!”

Needless to say, we immediately stopped watching the movie. Still, we almost felt like we needed a bath. Now, mind you, we’re not a couple of fuddy duddies, but there’s a limit to what we’re willing to toss into our heads! For one thing, it’s counterproductive: just as “we are what we eat,” we’re also what we put into our minds; or, we are what we think about! (Proverbs 23:7)

Regardless, Garbo read us the riot act. “Whut were ya thinkin’? I collect da garbage in dis house! You ain’t designed ta hold such trash!” And he’s right. The Word of God teaches that once we invite Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives, our Lord takes full occupancy; every follower of Christ then becomes a “temple of the Holy Spirit”! (1 Corinthians 6:19) And, need we state it? God does not want to live in a trash can. “But dat’s da point, you’re NOT a trash can!” Garbo fumes. “Dat’s my job! So stop fillin’ your heads wit garbage!”

Okay, okay! We get it! We should only put wholesome things into our minds. We need to stick to the Apostle Paul’s formula: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

Garbo says, “Hey, you. Yeah, you! You know who I’m talkin’ to. You’re NOT a trash can! So stop tryin’ ta muscle in on my territory! Don’t be readin’ or watchin’ or listenin’ ta junk dat don’t pass da stinkin’ garbage test! Kapeesh?”