pop tab.

A lady at book club asked us all to collect pop tabs for her nephew, who was going to have open-heart surgery to fix the hole in his heart. This surgery may fix his problems for good. If not, the doctors will have to go back in and refit him for some kind of artificial plug every couple of years (I'm a little hazy on the details). It takes a year to recover completely from such a surgery, the thought of which makes my sternum hurt, and even after that, he can't quite run and play with the other kids. That sounds like a pretty unhappy existence for a little boy. But I guess little boys with holes in their hearts used to just die.

The real question is, what are pop tabs?

Pop tabs are the tabs on aluminum cans that you use to open the drink, at least they are if you are from Indiana and refer to soda as "pop." The Ronald McDonald house collects the tabs to help pay to put up families whose children are in the hospital. After making fun of her regional speech pattern, I decided to make up for being a jerk by collecting the pop tabs. I mentioned it to Josh, then I found a little cup to collect the tabs in. I put it in the corner of the kitchen, where we keep the jars where we collect bottle caps. This is not to be confused with the box in the cabinet where we put the wine corks. Someday, after the apocolypse, we're going to construct a flame-thrower with nothing but pop tabs and bottle caps and wine corks, and then won't you feel silly.

However, by looking at the still-tabbed cans in the recycling bin, I could tell that Josh was not yet in the habit of saving his tabs. So I moved the container to the counter, right near the recycling bin. I picked a clear plastic container that was not too obtrusive. Then I patted myself on the back for coming up with a way to remind him to save the tabs without resorting to actual nagging. Nagging by proxy, maybe.

This did not work, and I was forced to nag directly. I pointed out the subtle tab container, which he looked at with surprise, because it had apparently been too subtle to break into his brain. He is not a good noticer. He lives in his head a lot of the time, while his body wanders around aimlessly, drinking pop.

"Why don't you put a sign right over the recycling bin?" He asked.

"Because you would hate it. No one likes signs."

He blinked at me for a minute before wrapping me in a hug. "I love you."

Clearly, I needed to go with something noticeable. I picked up a big milk glass bowl and plopped it on the counter, right in the way of everything. Since then, all the cans in the recycling bin have been de-tabbed. At least, until Trevor came back from his trip to Las Vegas. Here we go again. Maybe some kind of blinking arrow over the bowl? Hmmmmmm.

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