China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

The Mad Capper

The rains had just subsided. Sick Baby Street (also known as Guangzhou Lu) was crawling with parents carrying their patched children in their arms like loads of firewood. The stench – some amalgam of diaper, gasoline, and steaming buns – repelled the nose from its ordinary forward aim; out of pure necessity we walked looking down.

How lucky we were. Had we been on any other street we may have missed it, but thanks to our irreligious earthward orientation we were perfectly aligned to witness this most unprecedented display. Caps! What could this possibly be? The refuse of a soda binge? Some crazed plan to land a fortune from drink company sweepstakes? No… this was more than discarded plastic, more than consumer waste. There was intent in the placement of those colorful circles. Unrefined, sudden, vibrant – it was the work of untrained genius, but genius nonetheless.

Were we the only ones to ever view it? Chances are we were – aside from its elusive creator, of course, who is, we have concluded, spending his or her talent on the production of shamefully short-lived works of brilliance under the guise of an ordinary municipal garbage collector. A story fit for Hollywood, yes, but thought-provoking nonetheless. While galleries across the country are hanging unfulfilled, pretentious slop in the name of art, the real thing is going unseen and unpreserved in the daily routine of waste management. And therein lies the key, I believe: management of waste… is that not the very essence the artistic process – the moving about, slathering, pasting, cutting, and reshaping of materials which, if managed improperly, are utterly useless and invaluable?

How curious; how alarming. Naturally, this discover brought us to wonder – what else is lost out there in the world of the disregarded?

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