Garbology 101


It is three-tenths of a mile from the end of my driveway down the dirt and gravel Pine Grove Road to Highway 21. Three-tenths of a mile. A little after 6:00 a.m. on the Fourth of July I decided to walk to the highway and back because I was more than a little perturbed on the eve of the Fourth  as I drove in from work. Trash was everywhere — which is usual — but this time there was a white garbage bag of garbage sitting in the middle of the road right in the curve.


Garbage don’t just blow out the car window.

So, with a cup of coffee in one hand — mistake — and a big bag of garbage in the other I made my way down our road. I very quickly realized I didn’t have a big enough bag, but I chugged that coffee on down and went about picking up the stuff that showed the most.

It was the Fourth of July, the holiday celebrating our nation’s independence, but nowhere that I’m aware of guarantees anyone the right to throw their trash out their window and their garbage in the ditch. Nowhere!

I’ve been way up high on this soap box before, as I’m sure long time readers can attest, as they are probably rolling their eyes and saying to themselves here he goes again.

Well, you are all right, here I go again.

My trash bag was overflowing before I ever made the turn at the highway to head back towards the house, but I was determined that it could, and would expand, and it did.

When I was in college back in 1980, and struggling to stay awake in an Anthropology class, our professor gave us an assignment one day to go dig through a garbage dumpster — not our own — and bring some of our findings to the next class. He called it a “Garbology Project.”

I was going to my girlfriends apartment anyway — she’s been my wife since 1981 — so I dug some stuff out of her dumpster for the project. Our Garbology professor instructed us to swap our trash amongst ourselves and then analyze the contents and attempt to determine from whence it came. I liked Anthropology a bit better that day.

That said, on the Fourth of July I thought about our Garbology Project as I analyzed the trash on my road while picking it up. I assure you, one can find quite an eclectic mix on three-tenths of a dirt and gravel road mile. Especially one that boasts of numerous chicken houses.

My analysis showed that there was a close contest for favorite soda pop, with Dr. Pepper edging out Mountain Dew by a few bottles. Favorite chip last week seemed to be Pringles and somebody accidently, I’m sure, threw out a nearly full pack of little cigars. Serves them right!

It was hard to determine the favorite cigarette, but none of the dozens of packs were of the name-brand variety. Too pricey, I suppose.

There were quite a few favorites out there along the road and in the ditches, but without a doubt, the all time favorite thing to toss out the window of a moving vehicle on Pine Grove Road has got to be anything that comes in a styrofoam container with a plastic spoon.

My analysis complete it came time to draw my conclusion on from whence it all came. And that conclusion, my friends, is low-life trash. Only low-life trash throws their garbage out the window on my road or any other.

On the bright side, I did sing America the Beautiful out loud during the entire process...more times than one actually! It was, after all, the Fourth of July!