One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

Bethany Schlaikjer

Bethany Schlaikjer

As I was out enjoying the nice weather last week, I realized that spring has finally come to Brookings. Most people would notice flowers blooming or the warm breezes and make that particular connection, but not me. I had my epiphany while noting the gargantuan amounts of garbage littering every lawn within the city limits. Ah, spring cleaning.

Obviously the city launched some sort of annual “clean up the world” theme and the whole town chose to dump every useless piece of junk they owned out into the driveway. If I were not familiar with this societal ritual, I would assume that the wonderful inhabitants of Brookings just decided that, although their crap was still crap to them, it was too cool to go to the dump with everyone else’s crap. So they created their own personal dumps. Garbage snobbery is an ugly thing.

People’s old junk can tell you a lot about them. Next time you see one of these piles lying around, take a closer look. Your neighbors collect some really weird stuff. You’ll find things like Christmas trees (yes, in April), headless dolls (a little too creepy) and armchairs that for all accounts and purposes should have disintegrated sometime in the late 1960s. There are mattresses stained with every liquid substance known to man, television sets that look like they’ve been subjected to an Office Space style beating (someone didn’t like the news one night) and dingy, smelly bathtubs holding enough bacteria to poison half the Western Hemisphere. I’m sure that if one looked thoroughly, he/she would have a solid chance of finding Amelia Earhart in the depths of one of those heaps.

As a rule of nature, with the garbage come the vultures. You can see them anywhere, picking through the trash like homeless people in a 3D version of the home shopping network. As we speak now, there’s somebody out there on Medary, standing in front of a pile wondering how they’re going to get that huge spool into the back of their minivan (they make good tables, you know). But there’s nothing wrong with recycling, right?

So bring on the scavengers, because at the rate the city’s clean up effort is going, nobody else will touch it again.

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