Be Nice.

August 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm Leave a comment

Today’s epiphany is:  I like Garbage Men. They’re like Santa in reverse.

Make a list of the things you really don’t want. Old stuff, ripped stuff, smooshed stuff. The stinky, the rotten, the gross. The used, the broken, the empty. Check your waste baskets, check them twice, and gather up everything, naughty or nice, and then, by dark of night, place it all at the curb. And go quietly, serenely to bed.

When you awake, you can run down the stairs, throw back the shutters, and press your nose against the glass to see if it’s true. Yes! Yes! They came! They were here! It has all disappeared. The banana peels and apple cores; the can and jar labels; the evidence that you ate an entire box of cookies and a pizza; the moldy bread, shrimp tails, bits of lunchmeat; the shredded junk mail, discarded envelopes, and snipped circulars; the soggy paper towels, cigarette butts, earwaxed Q-Tips, and boogered tissues; even the clumps of cat poo. It has all gone away. Like magic.


I was driving down my street this morning and had to stop behind the garbage truck to wait for a chance to pass as men picked up their sacks. And I saw it happen. An overstuffed wimpy-wimpy-wimpy bag fell to pieces. And I heard the garbage man yell. It was an involuntary roar. It was a cinematic No! It was a resonating moment of human angst, as real as any of us feels when a rotten, stinking workday goes from bad to worse.

Were he anything like me, he probably would have considered going up on the rooftop to drop garbage in this person’s chimney. But he didn’t. He went to the truck and grabbed a shovel to scoop it all up.

As he made it to the back of the truck with a third shovel full, I saw my chance to pass and pulled away, noticing, as I drove through the neighborhood, how many more garbage bags there were to be picked up. I couldn’t help but think about what it must be like to do his job every day, picking up stinking bags in the middle of August or hanging onto the side of a steel truck in early February.

Starting next garbage night, I am going to double-bag the messy stuff and triple bag the used kitty litter. I’m not going to try to fit quite so much into each bag. And I’ll be more aware of the awkward and the heavy. I don’t suppose it would be sanitary to leave them a glass of milk and a plate of cookies, but these good elves will be getting a better tip from my house come Christmas.

P.S.  I would like to acknowledge, for perhaps the first time ever, how very nice it is to work indoors at a computer.

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary. Tags: , , , .

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