The Garbage Man

Remember when you were a kid?  Perhaps you’re still a kid or just one in your heart…  When I was a kid I had the usual fantasies of being GI Joe, Superman and Batman.  I wanted to be able to pump my fist in the air and yell the mysterious two-syllable word, “Shazam” and be transformed into something omnipotent.  Didn’t the world need someone like me to save it from all the villains reeking havoc on its surface?  More years brought the more sensible aspirations of being a doctor, lawyer and even a scientist.  I dreamed of discovering the cure for cancer and many other seemingly incurable diseases.  There was a span of time that I thought of joining the Navy and becoming a nuclear engineer.  I was fascinated by the ocean and thought a lifetime on the water would be ideal.

Every kid grows up watching cartoons.  They’re more readily available today than ever.  You might remember the not so distant time when these animated masterpieces were only available on Saturday morning.  Life was bliss until American Bandstand came on at 11am.  Every boy hated that show and every girl loved it.  I still don’t understand why anyone would want to watch a show produced to display teenagers dancing to top 40 music.  All that frolicking can be summed up in two words:  Yawn Fest.  My brother and I left my sister prancing in front of the TV more than once as we grabbed the door headed anywhere Dick Clark wasn’t.

Sunday morning TV was a virtual entertainment wasteland and only religious shows aired.  I watched preachers like Robert Schuller, Jimmy Baker and Jimmy Swaggart.  I remember wishing I had a big black Bible to whirl around and envisioned myself on a similar stage wearing a similar black pressed suit with similar slicked back hair that showed tremendous resilience under the bright lights.  At the time I didn’t have any faith in God to validate such a dream.  I still don’t have a big black Bible to whirl around or the hair.  But, I have deep faith and a considerable assortment of pressed suits some of which are black.

Several years ago I thought of being a garbage man.  I even filled out the necessary application at BFI.  I was going through a difficult time in my life and picking up the curbside trash of others looked increasingly attractive.  Consider the benefits of such an occupation; baring holiday interruptions, you have a relatively consistent schedule day-to-day and week-to-week.  People are almost always prepared for your arrival and welcome you with a smile.  You could even say that people are upset if you don’t come by their house.  You can make a more than average living and who knows what treasure disguised as refuse might be waiting for you.  If you think about it, it’s representative of a very simple life.  Right now, simple would be good and curbside garbage looks particularly appealing again.

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