PEORIA, IL—Explaining that the waste he creates today will still be affecting society in significant ways centuries from now, experts from Northwestern University confirmed Tuesday that local resident Aaron Jacobson’s garbage will have a far greater impact on the world than he will.
The research team told reporters that, unlike his personal relationships, his career selling inventory management software, and his jigsaw puzzle and euchre hobbies, which will leave only the faintest and briefest trace on the planet, the items disposed of by the 39-year-old will go on to have profound effects on humanity and the natural world for hundreds of generations to come.
“Within just a couple decades of his passing, Aaron Jacobson and all his achievements in life will be completely forgotten and never spoken of again, while the refuse he produced, on the other hand, will exert a profound influence that will endure for millennia,” said head researcher Kevin Wright, who confirmed that each of the everyday items Jacobson regularly tosses into the garbage—including soda bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers, and the like—will be considerably more important in determining the future of the planet than his roughly 80 years of life will be. “For example, while his recent promotion to senior sales associate had a modest impact on his company and, perhaps, a minor impact on his community, it will certainly not change the course of human civilization in any sense. However, the mobile phones he leaves behind will still be leaching toxic metals into the soil and groundwater thousands of years from now, impacting entire populations.”
“And just think: That’s one small part of his trash,” Wright added. “This man’s waste is going to shape our world for a long time to come.”
Researchers noted that while Jacobson has visited a total of just nine U.S. states and one foreign country during his lifetime, the influence of his trash has already spread far and wide, leaving its mark across the globe. Over the past four decades, experts stated, the raw tonnage of refuse produced by Jacobson—a man who interacts with, at most, 12 people in an average week, and whose most recognized personal accomplishment is making pretty good lasagna—has crossed oceans and begun bringing about significant changes in marine ecosystems as distant as Asia, South America, Europe, and parts of North Africa.
Moreover, Jacobson’s discarded cleaning products, batteries, and takeout containers will reportedly have a considerable effect on the political landscape, eventually serving as the source of heated policy discussions and debates—even spurring vast movements of entire civilizations—thousands of years after everything the man has ever said or done has been erased from human society’s collective recollection.
Seeking to further elucidate just how profoundly impactful the man’s garbage will be in relation to Jacobson himself, experts noted that the Styrofoam packing peanuts that the local resident unthinkingly dumped into his trash can earlier today will still be on earth, altering the environment, dictating wildlife population numbers, and consequently upending food chains a million years from now. By comparison, they pointed out, the man’s years of productive work will effectively pass in the blink of an eye, as will any positive contributions that he makes stemming from his bachelor’s degree in communications, his Microsoft Office Specialist certification, his participation in online Star Trek forums, or any other areas of personal or professional interest where he sought to make a difference.
“And it’s not just Jacobson’s trash that will have profound effects on the planet—the emissions that result from him routinely leaving his car running while he waits in parking lots will influence the climate worldwide for an eon and will eradicate not just one, but scores of species from the earth’s surface,” Wright said. “If you put that next to the most notable goals in his life—running a 5K in less than 25 minutes and sealing his deck by himself without the aid of a professional—the two legacies aren’t even comparable.”
“Basically, when the last person on earth with any memory of him dies—which by our calculation, is little more than 50 or 60 years away—the paint cans and single-serve coffee pods he’s thrown out will just be getting started,” Wright continued. “Future generations won’t know the name Aaron Jacobson, but rest assured, his garbage will leave a mark on each and every one of their lives.”