The other day I started thinking about trash, trash cans and the possibility of being a hypocrite.


The other day I started thinking about trash, trash cans and the possibility of being a hypocrite.  I do not want to be considered a hypocrite, it’s not good.   I want to be a good example for my children.



What got me started thinking about trash?



Well, I’ll tell you.  Leaving for work the other day, I stopped in my driveway to study the “direction” of my trash bin or trash container or whatever you call the thing you pull to the side of the road for the newfangled garbage trucks to pick up with something that resembles the robotic arm NASA used on space shuttle missions.



It is actually a thing of beauty to watch.



I lead a pretty boring life – I realize that I do.  However, it is entertaining to watch the robotic arm come out from the garbage truck, pick up my big rolling bin and dump it into the truck.



No, I don’t get out much.



I read all of the literature the waste disposal company sent me on how to use the big plastic rolling bin.   There were precise directions on how far it needed to be from your mailbox, your dog, your children, etc.  Also, there was a precise direction or orientation for the bin to be pointing so that the robotic arm could grab it.



There are big arrows on the top of the lid with instructions, “This Side to the Street,” or “Point these arrows at your neighbor,” or something like that – I understand what they mean.



The fellow next door to me is some kind of surgeon or doctor who cuts on people and fixes things. 



He never points his rolling plastic trash vehicle in the correct direction.



He is a nice fellow and all, but would you want him cutting on you if he can’t get his trash bin in the right direction?  I would not.  If he fixed something in me, I would always have this feeling that he didn’t hook my insides up quite right.



Can you blame me?



There are rumors that my neighbors call me “Mr. Wilson” - as in the “Mr. Wilson” from the Dennis the Menace cartoon strip and television series from the late 50’s and early 60’s.  Mr. Wilson had to know what was going on in the neighborhood at all times and was always worrying about Dennis’ antics.



I’m not that bad.  I just worry about trash cans, suspicious looking cars and children riding wheeled vehicles without helmets.



I’m a good neighbor.



As I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed my 16 year-old son had positioned our rolling trash container in the incorrect position.  The arrows were pointing toward our house.  It worried me, but I wrote it off as either him being in hurry or him checking the direction of the surgeon’s trash can next door and copying it.



Perhaps my son wants to be a doctor. 



So I thought about trash on my drive to work.  I thought about what “Trash tells us and what trash means to me.”



It brought back many good memories for me.  Before I was a scientist/mathematician type, I was a janitor.  Sometimes I like to tell folks that the movie, “Good Will Hunting” was based on my life. 



To set the record straight, I’m not telling the truth on that one.



In the movie, Matt Damon plays a Yankee fellow who was a janitor at MIT and had a gift for mathematics.  He ended up being a genius with some serious psychological issues.



I’m from the South; I was a janitor at the newspaper where my Daddy worked.  I liked math because my Daddy taught me with a deck of cards and pair of dice.  I’m an average mathematician who has only mild psychological issues associated with raising teenagers and trying to figure out how to pay for college.



Still on the road to work, I also remembered the dump where my Mama would take me growing up.  



Yes, my Mama took me to the dump.  She was the best!



You see, through a little research, I found out the company in our county that made sporting goods would throw away all of the skateboard wheels they made that weren’t “perfect.”



I found their secret disposal location at the dump.



After cleaning the wheels, I repackaged them in brown paper and took them to school to sell to folks who needed new wheels for their skateboards or roller skates.  It was good business for a 14 year-old while it lasted. 



Now that I think about it, I didn’t even give my Mama a cut of the profits.  That bothers me just a little.  Somewhere in heaven, Mama is laughing.



Trash tells us a lot about a lot of things; it even holds memories for some of us.



I do lead a pretty boring life, but it is important to point out that more than likely my son is going to be a doctor, probably even some sort of surgeon.



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