Tobe Frank: Hell hath no fury


‘Hell hath no fury like the look a child gives you when they catch you throwing out their stuff’.

…that sh*t can pierce two-inch armoured plating on an Afghani tank.

To be frank, countless were the times that I was caught red handed, and red faced, dumping the kids’ rubbish. Be it their piles of old finger paintings, mountains of moulded clay ash trays (even though I never smoked), seed collections, towers of box constructions, cheap Chinese toys (although not so prevalent back in our day where a burger and chips didn’t come with a side of plastic) or other useless junk they’ve stashed, stored and saved.

No, I’m no cold, hard, heartless bastard…we kept plenty of memories…the best of paintings, the first of this and the last of that, and other such knickknacks, but we would’ve drowned in a pile of crap from kindy had it not been for my occasional not-so-stealthy disposals.

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In the early days, there wasn’t a lot of science behind my clearance strategy. I’d simply sweep through the house and swoop up whatever didn’t have a home or was simply oozing from the pores of the house. Getting caught in these days was a by-product of my own stupidity and lack of planning. The kids would see was I was doing and shout “Oi! What are you doing Daddy? That’s my such and such. I MADE that for you. You can’t throw that out…it’s SPECIAL!”. I’d protest that they didn’t care about it otherwise it wouldn’t be stuffed behind the door or under the bed, but their resuscitation efforts ensured the said item would be out of ICU and back on the ward for at least a little longer.

I moved on to ensuring the items went straight into the tin out back. Problem was, one of the chores the kids had back in those days was to take out the trash…so inevitably they’d go out back with the days’ refuse, lift the lid and what should they see…half a year’s work stuffed into the bin like a Thanksgiving turkey. The poor child would storm back inside…eyes ablaze, scolding me with their fury.

I eventually graduated to a multi-stage exit strategy. First, I would round up the items like cattle in a stockade. I would place said items in a dark black rubbish bag and tuck it away in the back of the walk-in-robe like a Santa sack in waiting. Then, once some time had passed, enough for the kids to either a) remember a particular item (which would ‘magically’ appear after I foraged through the sack like a squirrel trying to find a nut in a pile of leaves), or b) have my suspicions confirmed that they had in fact forgotten about it at which point it as deemed safe to proceed to the final stage of disposal.

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This would entail an overnight operation, executed with the precision of a NavySeal hostage extraction. Come collection day, under the cover of darkness, just a little before dawn, I’d smuggle out the black bag, climb over the hedges and sneak down to rubbish bins parked out front of ol’ Betty’s house (name changed to protect the innocent) and throw them in there like I was getting rid of crime scene evidence. I’m sure to my neighbours it would have looked like I was throwing a bag of unwanted kittens off a bridge.

I’d hear the rubbish truck clanging a street or two away and make a hasty retreat back to the boudoir for a few minutes of blissful sleep, in the full knowledge that I had gained some space back in the house…no doubt to absorbed with the bounty of a weekend’s shopping expedition by the missus.

Every now and then the kids would ask about something…’Dad…have you seen such and such?’

To which I’d reply (with a wry smile), “maybe if you took better care of your things, or god forbid, put things away occasionally, they’d be where you left them…”

…instead of 6foot under at the tip!


Have you been caught red-handed throwing out something “precious” that is really just junk? Share your funny stories with us!