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W. Korol Selley

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Trash Day
By W. Korol Selley
Friday, September 17, 2010

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What do they say about one man's trash as being another man's treasure?

c2010 W. Korol selley

While taking my dogs out for their morning walk, we travel at a snail's pace.  My little hound has to sniff every blade of grass up one side and down the other.  All of them and that's no lie.  And so, as she sniffs and checks everything out on the ground, I have the time to notice just about everything around me.

Trash day is really the most informative day of the week.  A person could learn so much without having to ask a single question.  You know who the drunks are and you know their poison just by the beer cans and/or liquor bottles.  That kind of thing means nothing around the major party holidays and when the football games air.  But what about those recycling bins that have a lot of strange things in them?  Who uses so much cough medicine?  What's with the vinegar bottles?  The diet soda cans and bottles are a dead giveaway that someone is trying to lose weight and it's not working because of the empty pizza boxes all over the ground.

I have to admit that one recycling bin caught my interest when I saw the bar codes cut off all the can labels.  I know the guy who threw them out and he just happened to be sitting on his porch.  Couldn't help myself, and so I said, "Hey Jim, what's with the bar codes being cut off your empty cans?"

He grabbed his cane and joined me on the sidewalk and replied, "I don't want "Big Brother" knowing what I got stored in my house.  That's magnetic ink and anyone can come by here with a scanner and know exactly how much of anything I got."

"I said, "Yeah, I get the picture," and then I tell him to have a nice day and I let my impatient pooches take me away.

In rounding the corner, I see this guy dressed in work clothes. He's got a utility belt on with every conceivable tool hanging off it.  He's pulling a dolly with an oversized bright red plastic trash can tied down to it, and he's got a 39 gallon trash bag flapping in the wind.  I'm on the other side of the street and me and my dogs watch as he grabs a door that's leaning against a couple trash cans and whips out a screwdriver from off his belt and proceeds to take off the knobs and hinges.  I notice they are made of brass.   In his trash can they go.  Then there's an aluminum screen door.  OK, what's he gonna do with that?  He grabs a hammer and beats it apart and it all goes into the trash can.

My dogs are ready to move on, but I'm engrossed in what this guy will do next.  He bends down to rummage through the recycling bin and tosses soda cans into his trash bag.  He then rips open a plastic trash bag and dives into that.  The old metal wind-up toys go into his backpack that escaped my notice until now.

We are both interrupted by a pickup truck coming toward us.  The bed is packed full of refrigerators and stoves.  The trash picker hails the truck down and I hear him telling the driver and passenger that there are a couple wash machines just around the corner.  "Go get them before anyone else does," he instructs them. 

Finally, he sees me and smiles.  "You know what they say Miss, one man's trash is another man's treasure.  As long as they keep throwing this stuff away, I never have to work for da man."

I nod and before moving off, I pick up what my dogs left behind and dump it in the nearest trash can.

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