Thirteen Pounds of Fucking Bullshit

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About a decade ago, my stepdad-who’s-no-longer-technically-my-stepdad-but-whose-side-I-took-after-the-divorce gave me a copy of Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and it’s all Small Stuff”. While I’ve started it several times throughout the years, it’s largely remained in the pile of bathroom reading material (along with more than one book about cats). Still, there was a lesson that I keep coming back to, and it’s one that I found myself struggling with today. Lesson 8: “Do Something Nice for Someone Else – and Don’t Tell Anyone About It.” Sometimes I want to share what I did in hopes that someone else will see how good it feels, and then they too will go out and do a nice thing for someone else. Pass it on, ad naseum. Other times you want to tell someone what you did because you’re so absolutely fucking flabbergasted that you simply can’t keep quiet about it.

This is one of those times…

I live kitty-corner to a small elementary school that takes up half the block, the other half being an open field with some baseball diamonds and a water tower. Given the unseasonably warm February we’re having (60 degrees in February? Go home, Michigan- you’re drunk!) I’ve decided to start taking Xena for walks around said block. Being trash day, I opted against walking her down the trash bin strewn sidewalk, walking on the school yard side of the road instead. It wasn’t long until she stopped to sniff at a smashed and faded pack of Newports. “Your insulin is expensive enough- you cannot afford a smoking habit on top of it.” I gave her leash a quick tug, and she trotted along, eager to see what other vices await. But surely it wasn’t like we were going to come across– a pint of fucking Rich and Rare, are you serious?! I was just about to praise her for paying no mind to the bottom shelf whiskey (I like to think because she has higher standards, but realistically, it’s probably just because she’s blind) when I noticed she was about to step on a broken shard of glass. From a Corona bottle, nonetheless…

To keep a long story short and words like “pre-meditated” out of the courtroom, it didn’t get better. Before we’d even rounded the first corner, I was disgusted. But when I saw the Budweiser bottle lying not ten feet from the school’s marquee board, I’d begun to seriously question just what kind of people inhabited this neighborhood. A bunch of fuckers, that’s what kind. By the end of the walk I was feeling thoroughly pumped dry of what dwindling faith I had remaining for humanity. Grabbing a pair of gloves and a brown bag (for recyclables) and a plastic bag (for trash), I set off to retrace the breadcrumb trail of careless delinquency.

The Newport pack all but disintegrated when I picked it up. How long has this been here? I noticed a handful of Taco Bell sauce packets nearby that I’d missed the first go around. These are recyclable, right? Into the brown bag they went. And so on it went. I came across the bottle of Rich & Rare, and then what I can only presume was a fancy bottle of scotch*. That broken Corona bottle. A Babe Ruth wrapper. A bottle half full of what I could only hope was, as the label suggested, apple juice. A disproportionate amount of straws compared to cups or lids. Disposed spit wad cannons? Another broken beer bottle. A filthy, albeit intact, plastic bag to fit more trash into. Half a dozen of those “sample” bottles of 99 Peppermints and Captain Morgan. Someone’s having a helluva party. Miscellaneous bits of unidentifiable plastic. A bottle of Nestle Pure Life that I desperately hoped someone had poured the other half of that apple juice into. A dead possum.** More broken beer bottles. Fireworks?! When’s the last time someone shot off fireworks?!

Pro-tip: If you ever find yourself wanting to ask, “how bad can it be?” Just don’t. Seriously. Half an hour after setting out, I limped through the gate to the backyard, feeling a twinge in my lower back and a rising disgust in my gut as I struggled to hold together the bursting bags.

12.8 pounds of trash.

TWELVE.
POINT.
EIGHT.
FUCKING.
POUNDS.

I picked up nearly 13 pounds of trash. In 30 minutes. On a single block. Surrounding a fucking elementary school… And the most infuriating part? All of it was recyclable– except for a Styrofoam cup. And possibly those Taco Bell sauce packets. But seriously. Here I was hoping that whoever stole our recycling bin might be some eco-friendly vigilante, but clearly I was mistaken. I don’t necessarily consider what I did a “nice” gesture so much as being a decent human being who gives a shit about the planet. Sure, sure, “global warming isn’t real” and the reason behind 60 degree weather in February is a loch ness monster needing about tree fiddy. Still, Carlson be damned- I won’t keep quiet about it.

I may not be the hero this town wants, but I’m the one it’s gonna fucking get.

#Dealwithit.

— — — — — — — — —

* I say fancy because it was a glass bottle, and I’m pretty sure they only make glass bottles for fancy liquor. Then again, I spent the better part of my 19th err, I mean, 21st year drinking King Cobra, so my experience with “fancy booze” is rather limited…

** I did not grab the dead possum, though the irony did not escape me that I had my “Joe’s Possum Diner” sweater on.***

*** Okay, yes it did. Clearly I missed a golden opportunity…

9 Comments


  1. // Reply

    Wow.. I wish I could say that all that was hard to imagine, I really do. But it’s almost the exact same situation in my town. Mind you, I don’t live as close to a school as you, but we do happen to have an elementary and middle school within about 2-3 blocks of each other. Surrounding each ‘campus’ is a little field and somewhat of a playground (which is usually covered in some of the most juvenile attempts of graffiti imaginable). Some very upstanding members of the community occasionally try (in vain) to keep the equipment maintained, but the neighborhood hoodlums/gangsters/etc. usually make short work of destroying it before the kids can even enjoy it.. Now, I’m not in the least bit joking when I say we’d be lucky if it were just styrofoam cups and sauce packets. On average, entire cases of empty beer cans and more than a handful of bottles (with absolutely no doubt about their disgusting contents) can be found within sight of the front doors of each school, amidst the other “normal” litter you’d expect. The truly horrible and disturbing part, is that in the last few years this has also come to include an increasing number of used condoms/wrappers and dirty, sometimes even bloody needles. More and more people in this world today seem to care so little about the health and well-being of the children in our collective communities… Personal gain and enjoyment are the only things that appear on their radar and it truly sickens me, almost to the point of hoping some natural disaster or calamity will rid this world of their presence; if nothing else, just to let the children of this world see a future where the skies can still be clear, the water clean and blue, and nature actually flourishing again. Please, keep up all the good work! You’re definitely a hero in my eyes 🙂


    1. // Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words! Your story brought tears to my eyes, seriously. I have loved ones that have struggled with heroin addiction, so I try to keep an open mind and keep my anger directed at the absolutely fucked medical/mental health system we have. With that being said, there’s no excuse for just plain ignorance and lack of giving a fuck. It disgusts me to hear how these (presumably, kids) treat something that should be sacred to these children. Again, part of a larger problem that desperately needs attention… Glad I can do what little bit that I can, though. I mean, who knows how much time or how many people made this mess. If one person can clean it up in half an hour, I’ll count that as a success, heh… <3


  2. // Reply

    You’re very welcome. I haven’t personally had experience with heroin thankfully, but I’ve seen quite a few of my closest friends follow the path from the start. Fortunately, most of them began to see the effects it was having on themselves and those around them, and have made strides to get clean and stay that way. A few weren’t so lucky (either arrested or worse, hospitalized) and were more forced then chose to change, but at least it’s a step… My best friend was one of the unlucky ones, but he took the opportunity and ran with it. When I talked to him last week, he said he’s now got a year and a half clean and sober! And he never wants to go back. The struggle will always be present, but it is possible to move past it and live again. As far as the miscreants, I’ve learned that no matter how hard we try, there’ll always be someone who wishes to cause chaos and destruction simply for the sake of it, but it doesn’t mean we should stop. Absolutely every little bit counts, and will always make a difference in the long run. And yes, I’d definitely chalk it up as a win <3


    1. // Reply

      “As far as the miscreants, I’ve learned that no matter how hard we try, there’ll always be someone who wishes to cause chaos and destruction simply for the sake of it, but it doesn’t mean we should stop.”

      Truer words, my friend… Truer words… <3


      1. // Reply

        Aww thank you! <3 I must admit, I've never been quoted in a positive way before =^_^= but I'm glad you liked it!


  3. // Reply

    Love the goggles..

    Somewhat related, they are taking the wrecking ball to my high school next year. I cannot wait for them to haul the trash away from it and restore it to a green space. Told my spouse that I want to have a party the day that happens.

    @WriterDann


    1. // Reply

      Haha thanks! I use them for my Ren Faire cosplay of one of the main characters of my novel, but I was trying to pull off a “Dr. Steel” shot for a good friend and just failed so utterly miserably because I couldn’t stop chuckling like a goof.

      Does the high school have the same issue with the trash and everything? Or is it not in use? Definitely more pleasant to hear the sound of birds in trees over another rousing game of “LET’S ALL SCREAM LIKE WE’RE BEING MURDERED!” Apparently that’s a fun game these days… T_T


      1. // Reply

        No issue with trash as far as I know other than the rubbish that went into building it…. It’s on the highway in the middle of nowhere. My elementary school is right up the hill from it. They are renovating the elementary school to allow for 2 more grades to be added to it so the old high school can finally close. Old high school has been a middle school for years. Rural schools are closing all over the place here. Still amazes me that I stuck it out and graduated there.

        🙂


        1. // Reply

          Oh man, I know how that goes! I went to Middle/High School out in the boonies, and there’s all sorts of fuckery going on with closing schools and adding onto old ones. I can’t even keep up anymore.

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