#979 Anything that can grow wings

Maggot Wagon

In the suburb of Toronto where we live they’ve implemented a new recycling initiative which I’ve dubbed Project Stinky. Everyone received a green bin and we’ve been instructed to load it up with our moldy compost each week — from eggshells and stale bread to raw chicken and wads of paper towel. Everything compostable is greenbinnable, and us residents are just being asked to do our part to keep planet Earth, quote unquote, truckin’.

In the beginning I had no real problem with Project Stinky. It was a stinky project, sure, but really a small price to pay for diverting a pail full of garbage from the dump each week. If somebody was willing to drive around town and pick up our compost then hey, who are we to stop them? We even used those biodegradable green bags too, until the city left us stickers telling us that those really didn’t degrade into bio very quickly so we should just dump our compost in the bin au naturel. We said sure, kept doing what we were doing, and in general felt a bit better about ourselves for doing our part.

Then the maggots came.

Aren't they cute?

I guess the blazing heat of the past few weeks did a number on the pile of rotten food sitting in the green bin outside. That explains why a few weeks ago I opened the lid of the bin to awaken a wall full of white, squirmy maggots that were wriggling up the side and all over the lid of the green bin. Stunned, I took a step back, let out a high-pitched scream, and ran away. Then I jumped in my car and drove straight to work, hoping it was all a dream.

When I got there I told my coworker Laurie about my harrowing experience. “Oh, yeah, that happens,” she said nonchalently, not even looking away from her computer screen, clacking away on emails. “We call it the Maggot Wagon at our house. But don’t worry! They’ll just fly away eventually.”

There was a pause as I thought about that for a minute. First I was like “Say what, girlfriend?”, but then I did a bit of research and found out that Laurie’s right. I guess I was just the last to learn about this whole metamorphosis thing. Maggots are just baby flies — cute little larval worms looking to grow some wings and fly around until they fall in love and make some more baby maggots with one of their own. It’s kind of cute, really. Caterpillars are in the same boat. After wiggling around on tree trunks and nibbling on leaves for a while, they finally clue in and grow wings, turning themselves into beautiful butterflies, haphazardly flying off into the setting sun.

Worms to birds, baby

Frankly, I imagine growing wings is a pretty tough task. You might have to spin yourself a cocoon or hide in a tree knot or something, you know, just for a bit of privacy. Hey, if you’re about to metamorphasize you need your space, I get that. And then of course there’s probably a lot of gritting your teeth, squeezing your muscles really tight, and screaming ‘Nnnnn! NNNNNNNN!’ a lot. Plus, you’re on your own. No one’s around to cheer you on. You just push and push and push and push until you finally give birth… to yourself.

Most people have probably thought about flying once or twice. I know I have. It’s gotta rank up there with being invisible and seeing through clothes on the Things I Want To Be Able To Do list. For that reason, I say the idea of wriggly little insects squeezing out a pair of wings and then just flying away is completely admirable. It’s simply honorable. It’s downright respectable. And we all know it’s just totally


The finished product


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38 responses to “#979 Anything that can grow wings

  1. Yet another reason why we, as Americans, should be ashamed. We’re the second biggest polluter in the world, right behind China, and yet the cities with anything remotely like “Project Stinky” can be counted on the good hand of a bad shop teacher. Sure, we have recycling programs, but generally they only take paper and plastic. And the plastics they take have to conform to a series of numbers. I declare shenanigans.

  2. jdurley

    I don’t do this personally, but I know people who store their “green bin” waste in their freezer until collection day.

  3. “And then of course there’s probably a lot of gritting your teeth, squeezing your muscles really tight, and screaming ‘Nnnnn! NNNNNNNN!’ a lot.”

    After I read that, only one thought came to my mind:

  4. Hmmm… we have the green bin thing here in Australia but I’ve never heard of a maggot infestation in them.
    Maybe it’s because we don’t add meat.
    Great blog btw

  5. pinkcorvette

    Well, there had to be a reason all these years why so many 16 year old girls dreamt of tatting themselves up with butterfly tattoos….

  6. This blog makes me laugh my ass off.
    Keep up the good work.


    Jeff Macklin
    Peterborough, Ontario

  7. Pingback: Palamaner - Maggots! « Jeff’s Blog

  8. Margaret

    Nova Scotia has been doing this for more than 10 years now… I’m really glad Toronto is finally taking this on too! Hopefully the whole country will be using green bins soon!

  9. Kristin

    The word “Awesome”, is Awesome.

  10. The Dictionary

    Thanks, Kristin.

    We’ll be sure to get that into the description.

  11. aha! i knew you were from canada, pleased as punch youre from toronto.

    maggots eh? hrm. the only problem ive ever had with mine are the raccoons using it for an all you can nom buffet.

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  13. LeekosAgrios

    Here in the US, what my boyfriend does to be more “green” is to deposit any food remains around his large backyard, emphasizing on shrubs, flowers, trees, and the veggie garden. So he takes eggs shells, used ground coffee, fruit peels, and veggie remains and gives back to Earth. It creates no bugs. However, meat remains such as chicken skin, bones, and fat is thrown into the disposal.

  14. Jess

    Butterfly rocks, Birds rocks, Bats rocks!

  15. marcel

    strange that this is not common in america .. here in holland we split plastic paper bio shit, glass, cans . beerbottles and soda bottles need to be brought back to the supermarket and in n-europe the same is the case for cans

  16. Chan

    If you’re ashamed to be an American, get out! I dunno about the rest of the US, but In California it’s common to have a green bin and Americans have been composting for a long time. Maybe not all of them but we do it. Should I be ashamed that my apartment complex doesn’t even offer this kind of thing? Even if it did, I wouldn’t put items in that would rot and attract flies ready to pop out a buncha maggots…that’s just nasty! We don’t need more places for dirty flies to breed and we don’t want our neigborhoods smelling like a dump all week while we wait for pick up. How about trying to buy only what you need and know you will eat before spoilage when you go to the store? That cuts back on waste more then anything! Recycling is great, keep doing it but don’t be so freakin fanatical about it, jeez! (SIDE NOTE; get a pet pig, they eat almost anything!)

  17. JEM

    Always feminine napkins finally grew wings and I am oh-so grateful.

  18. Mitch

    Wow dude you actually screamed? I would’ve stared and then backed away from the bin slowly. Ha ha!
    This actually happened to us one summer long ago, the trash can outside was like infested with maggots, so my dad and me got the detergent and put the hose on extreme (I did actually it was pretty frikin awesome, it felt like I had all the power in my hands) and sprayed those little buggers into oblivion, it was pretty victorious. But then our driveway was filled with dead maggots and dirty soapy water, eh.

  19. Mitch

    Wow the ‘Nnnn. NNNNNNNN!!’ part made me laugh so hard!

  20. Jessica

    Err… I just wikipedia’d maggots and it said:

    “A major problem also arises when maggots turn into flies and start the life cycle over again. Within a few generations the number of maggots grows exponentially and becomes a serious problem. …Keeping garbage in a sealed container and using a garbage disposal or freezing rotting leftovers until waste collection day helps prevent infestation.”

    I was totally with you and I was like, “Yeah! Maggot rights!” but now… not so much. Don’t get me wrong, maggots and I are chill and all, but leaving them and letting them grow in the trash can to become flies and make baby maggots to infest everything doesn’t seem so cute anymore.

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    you must have been smoking ‘the green stuff’ to have come up with such an exciting way of talking about maggots.

  23. Stacy

    You’re not supposed to put meat into compost. Egg shells are fine though. That would DEF cause flies to use it as their little hatching ground…

  24. Latsy

    “First i was like, “Say what, girlfriend?” Lol. I love that you screamed and then just nonchalantly walked away in shock and went to work. I also love that you referred to maggots as “cute little larval worms looking to grow some wings and fly around until they fall in love and make some more baby maggots with one of their own.” As well as the paragraph and climax of the wings finally emerging after much toil, and this being the birth of oneself. Bahaha…you’re awfully amazing.

  25. CHILL

    “You just push and push and push and push until you finally give birth… to yourself.” — love that line!!

  26. butterflies are awesome. period.

  27. wendywithaurora

    This is so very well written.
    Absolutely love the part about giving birth to self…
    we can “morph” many times here on earth, if we choose to, until eventually and hopefully we do earn some wings.
    And just over yonder…I want to be a River-Dancer, with wings:)

  28. Impressed with the count down

  29. Angelique

    And then of course there’s probably a lot of gritting your teeth, squeezing your muscles really tight, and screaming ‘Nnnnn! NNNNNNNN!’ a lot. Plus, you’re on your own. No one’s around to cheer you on. You just push and push and push and push until you finally give birth… TO YOURSELF.

    This particular pharagraph kept me awake on a night shift laughin alone in my office. hahaha

    totally awesome blog! I WOULD LIKE A COPY OF THE BOOK PLEASE! haha :) MUST. FIND. BOOK. <3

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  32. Red clover

    I recently learned that when caterpillars or maggots enter the cocoon, They don’t grow wings. They actually dissolve their bodies into ooze. They use that goo and rebuild themselves into a winged insect! http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/monarch/ChrysalisDevelopmentLPB.html. Gross! Love the book by the way.

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