By in Sci Fi & Paranormal

Science Fiction Short Story: "Waste Not, Want" by Dave Dryfoos

Eighty-six-year-old Fred Lubway wakes up with panic. He’s still not over using Tillie. He’s still not over the new place. Not that he needed a new place—this house full of gadgets that Tillie never saw. He was told at Tillie’s funeral that he had to change his home because of the change in the composition of his family. His present furnishings were…obsolete. He had to replace them, the nice young lady from the Rations Board explained.

And the penalty for refusal?

It was much harsher than the criminal penalties for under consumption that were on the books. He could be declared prematurely senile and unable to care for himself. He’d be put in a home where they’d help him consume. So—keep working! At 86! But more importantly, keep consuming! And if you didn’t want a full breakfast, or three squares a day, well, there were ways to help you do just that.

This is absurdist, but it is a biting comment on consumer culture. Written long before the hippie counterculture of the 1960s, this is a mutiny with a fist in the air. It’s not a happy tale, but it is worth reading.

After serving in World War II, author Dave Dryfoos began writing. He published some 20 titles in six years.


Title: “Waste Not, Want” first published in If Sept. 1954

Author: Dave Dryfoos (1915-2003)






©2015 Denise Longrie


An earlier version of this review was posted at another site but has since been removed and is no longer visible. It have been updated and expanded for its inclusion at PP.

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xstitcher wrote on June 9, 2015, 8:23 PM

Sounds kind of scary. :( I'm old-fashioned, I like a story with a happy ending. ;)

msiduri wrote on June 9, 2015, 10:19 PM

You probably wouldn't care for this story then. Its ending is not happy.

Last Edited: June 10, 2015, 8:57 AM

msiduri wrote on June 10, 2015, 9:00 AM

As bleak as it is, it is funny in an absurdist way. Satire like this works only (IMHO) when there's a grain of truth in it, but—oh, I wouldn't want to live like poor old Fred!