Drop blade here


When my family traveled when I was a kid, we always stayed at local mom and pop hotels. These usually consisted of a long single-story building  of hotel rooms, resembling a 1950’s ranch style house, with a parking spot in front of each  room. Think Bate’s Motel, only clean, nice, and not inhabited by psychopathic killers.

There were few amenities in these rooms: two double beds (nobody had queen-sized beds back then) with chenille bedspreads, a black and white TV,  a small bath with a shower inside the tub, and if we were very lucky, air conditioning. They gave you the Lilliputian bar of soap, but no little bottles of shampoo or lotion. But the one amenity that was always included, was a slot in the bathroom wall or inside the medicine cabinet that proclaimed “Deposit used blades here.” The slot was just big enough to drop in a double-edged, old-fashioned razor blade, the kind almost no one uses any more.

As a child I found these slots fascinating, causing me to raise all sorts of questions. Where did the razor blade go once you dropped it in the slot? Was there a box behind the wall to collect them, or did they just fall behind the plaster, in between the studs and lathe, until the wall filled up with razor blades? And if there was a box to collect them, what did they do when the box filled up? Did they have to knock a hole in the plaster, empty the box, and then patch up the wall and seal it up again? Would I one day open the medicine cabinet in the Bate’s Motel and find razor blades spilling out, onto the shocking pink sink, littering the black and white tiled floor with rusty used blades?  And what were they thinking anyway? Who decided that dropping razor blades inside the wall was a good idea to begin with? It’s not safe to carry used razor blades around in your travel bag, or put them in the wastebasket, but it’s perfectly okay to put them inside the WALL?

What caused me even more chagrin was the fact that my parents and older sister did not find the razor blade slot in the wall nearly as alarming and interesting as I did.” But where do the blades gooooo?” I’d wail to my dad as he dropped his used blade into the wall. “What will happen if the wall gets filled up?” But no one shared my alarm or interest. “Don’t worry about it, they’ll take care of it,” my parents would always say. But I knew that wasn’t true. Grownups hadn’t done a very good job keeping the communists out of Cuba, or protecting our president from getting shot. If they couldn’t manage those very important things, how could they possibly care enough to keep travelers safe from razor blades?

But the number one issue that puzzled me then, and still does today, is this: Of all the issues that arose from travel back then, how did anyone decide that razor blade disposal was the most pressing, the one amenity that all hotels must provide, in order to keep their guests happy? Can you just hear people, well, men, back then. “Yes dear, I’d love to take the family on vacation. The problem is that there’s no good way to discard these pesky razor blades while we’re traveling. You can see how we can’t possibly travel, carrying around all those used razor blades.  Guess we’ll have to stay home until someone comes up with a solution.”

Yes, thank goodness they solved THAT.

What's behind your wall?

© Huffygirl 2012

Thanks to the following sites for their photos: