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The Big Rake

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Dear Waldo,

I was in the college library where I was supposed to meet this girl who never showed up and I'll admit it, I was gassed out of my mind on this sick weed my roommate brought back from Jamaica, and I wandered up to the third floor which I had never been to and there was this enormous globe of the world. I had heard about it but I never saw it due to my not liking of geography and my not coming to the library almost ever. This fucker must be ten feet in diameter. So I started spinning it because a sign says that's OK to do if you want to for research purposes. At first I zoned out on all the colors, but then I started to notice there goes China, there goes India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Atlantic ocean, New York, the Great Lakes, Pacific ocean and then it all started up all over again, China, India, around and around.

And then I had this amazing thought I admit I probably wouldn't have had if I wasn't so ripped out of my gourd. What if I had this giant rake, OK? And what if what this rake did is, it raked up just these two things: People, plus all the things that people have ever made. And what if I'm standing in the library with my giant rake and I keep spinning the globe and running my rake over the entire ball except now it's the real world and I'm raking up all the people and all the things that people have ever made into one gigantic pile. I rake up the Empire State Building, every house on the planet, every truck, every couch, every shoe, books, the Great Wall of China, tools, pipes, wires, oil tankers, movie theaters, every screw, every brick, every road, airplanes, building materials, bulldozers, cranes, hottubs, garbage, bottles, let's even say satellites. Everything, every single person and every single thing people ever made, into one gigantic pile.

Here's my question: If I raked up all that stuff into the United States, what's the smallest state you think I could fit that entire junkpile in?

I just got back from going into the bathroom and I'll admit it, I sucked down some more weed because I was getting all cheesed out on this globe thing and a whole nother unbelieveable idea came to me: What if a sorcerer came along and I traded my rake for a magic wand which I know is a cliché even wrecked, but what if I made the trade anyway and then poof, I got rid of the entire pile of people plus all the shit people have made. Poof. Pile gone. Which leads to my question number two: Would the planet be better off or worse off? I can not deal with my own question. That is one mind-fuck question.

Well, that's it. No, one more question. Do you think smoking dope is good or bad. Because I'm guessing I'm going to wake up tomorrow with a familiar feeling that goes What the fuck.

Thank-you,

Paul

Dear Paul,

Stoned out of your ever-loving mind or not, I think you've stumbled upon a fascinating proposition. I'll bet most people think of the world as theirs, as a platform made especially for them. There's animals and bugs and plants and that kind of thing, but most folks think this production is sponsored by us, humans, and that the planet is really our stage, and so quiet down Everything Else because we got a show to put on.

But this giant rake concept of yours makes it clear that people, for all their huffing and puffing, have had nothing to do with most of what goes on in our planet. My guess is that the smallest state that could accommodate all of the things your rake rakes up would be, ohh, Massachusetts. I live in Massachusetts and it seems to me, as I look around while driving, that there's plenty of extra room here for a gigantic pile of every house, battle-ship, truck, cinder-block etc., particularly if you take care to pile things efficiently.

I could be laughably wrong. I realize that there are minds capable of approaching your question with tools much more sophisticated and precise than my handy all-in-one Wild-Guess Mallet. And so let's choose a place on earth which we all can agree is sufficiently large to accommodate this pile you're talking about Paul. Texas? Alaska? Definitely one of those. Let's pick the bigger of the two: Alaska.

Rake rake rake rake rake rake rake. Good. Now there's everything made by man ever, plus every person on earth, in a pile on Alaska.

Spin that globe Paul. Well what do you know. It's clear we're really not responsible for much, given all there is. Just that little pile of shit every time Alaska comes around.

Anyway, in answer to your second question Paul, about would the world be better or worse without us. If those are my only two choices, I say better off. Please keep in mind that I could be laughably wrong.

In answer to your third question, here's what I say about marijuana, chardonnay, Heath Bars, LSD, coffee, nutritious foods, nicotine, water, or anything else that eventually enters our bloodstream: Holy shit! How about this! We're nothing but test tubes filled with a balance of chemicals so delicate that we can change moods or even go kerflooey at the drop of a hat!

Thank-you for your letter Paul.

Your Fan,

Waldo Mellon