On a recent episode of Hoarders, super cleaner Matt Paxton (pictured) said that all of us are “four or five bad decisions away from pooping in a bucket.” What might those decisions be?

1. Decide to try meth.

2. Decide it’s better to spend all day doing meth than working or maintaining your personal hygiene.

3. Decide to barricade yourself inside your house with all your possessions, including garbage.

4. Decide it’s not worth chasing all those rats out because they mean well.

5. Decide that getting your toilet fixed is not important because you hate repair people coming to the house and trampling all over your beautiful hoard.


Seriously, though. I’ve heard adages about “most people are two or three paychecks/one big medical emergency away from living on the street,” and I get that. That has more to do with the rising cost of living than it does to do with people having gross personal hygiene, though. Matt – whose work cleaning up hoarders’ disgusting houses has earned him the nickname St. Matt from fans of the show – has a great sense of empathy for the people he works with, and I think his comment was designed to help viewers sympathize with a very unsympathetic hoarder by reminding us that she started out a normal person like us. Because many of the people who appear on Hoarders are mentally ill, he was also pointing out that untreated mental illnesses can result in slow downward slides. But am I four or five bad decisions away from having to shit in a bucket? I hope not. And I hope my bad decisions come spaced out between good ones so I never have to find out how bad it could really get.