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Just Last Week, Government Officials Began Discarding New (Military-Grade!) Materials All Over Our City, Region, State And Country. Use That Detritus!

Cover photo of a tear gas canister picked up in the wake of Saturday’s standoffs between protesters and police in Dallas, Texas, by Pete Freedman.

Right now, neighborhoods all over Dallas — the country, really — are littered with things like rubber bullets, spent cans of pepper spray and especially discarded tear gas canisters.

Don’t let the opportunity of turning this material — the canisters, in particular — into works of art pass you by! One person’s chemical weapon is another’s treasure!

Here are some ideas to get you started!

Succulent Planter

Succulents are adorable. Everyone knows it. Next time you’re at Trader Joe’s and eyeing the plant section, take a sweet lil bb cactus home and re-pot it in one of the canisters you got right before that time you had to soak your face in milk the other day. So cute!

Sourdough Starter Container

Remember when times were simple? Back before you knew about racism and life was all about pandemics and bread-baking? Bring back that familiar sense of calm as you watch your sourdough starter bubble to life in a container that, in a not so-distant past life, was used to inflict pain on you and your neighbors!

String Telephone

Oops! You lost your phone in a hoard of people when flash-bangs caused protesters to run in panic? That’s OK: Just grab two of those empty cans and some string, and you can make an old time-y telephone! Did you know those things used to have cords? Yup, and people called them land mines — sorry, land lines. They couldn’t be used to text or to post on social media, but you sure could scream in them! The fact that the material you’re using also had you screaming the other night is just a happy coincidence!

Wine Glass

Put booze in it! Police don’t seem too worried about these cans’ long-term effects on the greater population, so drinking out of it is obviously safe. Wine walk, anyone?

Time Capsule

Isn’t 2020 just bonkers? Put all that the time you’re spending hunkered down at home to good use! While you’re hiding from pandemics and police, put together a message for future generations. Borrow some magazines from your parents, cut out the prettiest pictures you can find and decorate the bland metal on the outside of your canister. Then stuff it with mementos like bills you can no longer afford, put a little saran wrap over the top and bury it in a nearby park — but before the 7 p.m. curfews, of course! If humanity goes extinct, maybe an alien will find it! Or perhaps just a squirrel will, but how cute!

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