|Let's Talk Trash (standard:Creative non-fiction, 2040 words)|
|Author: Alpha43||Added: Apr 19 2005||Views/Reads: 1936/1138||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|When you think about all the items you place in the trash, there truly is a wealth of knowledge to be gained by getting a good look at this very personal portrait of our day to day existence.|
LET’S TALK TRASH Occasionally Jack would dream about the luxury of having the latest and most up to date equipment. Wouldn’t it be great to have a self-packing unit or one with the new bag collector arms? The way White Pine is growing, it probably could support and justify a new ultra-modern trash collection unit and still be profitable. Maybe it makes sense to purchase the latest in waste management technology just to keep some outsider from moving in with visions of a hostile takeover of the county trash collection business. But Jack was content with his one-man operation. Eventually, reality would set in and Jack would realize that he wouldn’t change the way he collects garbage, even if he had all the money in the world. Especially after he discovered the “Wave”. He will never be rich, but he makes his truck payments and earns a decent living. This small town does not think of the garbage man as a misfit or a low-life doing the only work he is capable of. “Jack’s Pick-up Service” is just another business, no different than Stella’s Bakery or Bumgardner’s Hardware. Jack has been in the trash collection business for 24 years. The first couple of years were rough with his original beat up truck that made Jack swear and the repair shop and parts store people smile. Jack started spending his money on payments for a new truck instead of repair bills, and life started to smooth out. Jack is on his fourth new truck, each one bigger and better than the one before. Jack misses the joy of his life, Karen, and even though she succumbed to cancer six and one-half years ago, he feels fulfilled as a husband and he has Becky and Paul to keep Karen’s image alive. Becky is a senior at Michigan Tech in Houghton and Paul is somewhere in the skies over Afghanistan, piloting a B-1 for the United States Air Force. Jack has a fine home, a new Buick La Saber, a near perfect 1930 Model A Ford, (with a rumble seat) and of course, the Wave. Today, the final day and Grand Parade Day at the 66th National Trout Festival, Jack is to be honored as “Citizen of the Year” of White Pine, getting to ride along side Gloria Bumgardner, Queen of the Trout Festival, atop the County Fire Department’s new ‘Quick Response’ pump truck. Jack works long hours and really does very little in the way of formal community service. Rotary Club, PTA, and Band Boosters meetings are over before Jack ends his workday. Jack has never been trout fishing in his life, so he has little doubt that the reason for the Trout Festival honor of “Citizen of the Year” is because of the Wave. Everybody said it was dependability, being there every day, week after week, that makes Jack’s Pick-up Service a success; “Satisfaction or Double Your Trash Back!” was his motto. Honesty, fair prices, and prompt service were all important business attributes as well. But once Jack perfected the Wave, he was able to be much more than a trash collector to the people of White Pine. The Wave is not a thing; it is a method of delivering the trash into the big open hopper at the back of the truck. Instead of flipping a trash can upside down and promptly dumping the contents into the hopper, Jack uses a technique that is similar to throwing a bucket of water into someone’s face, a sideways toss, displaying the garbage in an even layer across the previous layer. A laying out of the debris much in the fashion of an ocean wave rolling up the beach. I can imagine some people scratching their heads about now, wondering what in the heck the ‘Wave’ has to do with anything. It is true; there is no great joy in having a ringside seat to view soup cans, coffee grounds, and pork chop bones. But billfolds, wedding rings, stock certificates, bank passbooks, and cash have been returned to their rightful owners because of the Wave and Jack’s ability to spot items that do not belong in the trash. Jack can also slit a trash bag and spread the contents in an even flow, observing everything. Sometimes it does not take a keen eye to spot non-trash, like the time Mrs. Fleming’s cat raced away after Jack slit Click here to read the rest of this story (144 more lines)
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