Thursday, December 25, 2014

When was the Last Time you Thanked your Garbage Man?

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Dear Henry,
       Today December 25, is a National Holiday that approximately 250,000,000 Million Americans celebrate. For some Americans, like myself, this is a day in which there is blessedly no traffic, in which I consume enormous amounts of Chinese food. But for the majority of Americans, this day is a very spiritual, special day. And since this day falls on a Thursday this year, a handful of these 250,000,000, spent their night last night, on December 24th, collecting the garbage in the frozen, quiet city streets. Last night, instead of spending time with their families, sipping hot Cocoa by the fire place, knitting mittens and playing Monopoly, a number of amazing individuals went out to work. For them, work means standing on the back of a car, in sub-zero weather, stopping every ten feet to empty dirty, smelly garbage into the back of their trucks. After doing this for one house, they continue on, and on, and on, the longer they continue on, the colder the temperature becomes.
     In my opinion, our garbage men and women, as they case may be, are exceedingly inspiring Americans that we all ought to learn from, for several reasons. Firstly, have you ever stopped to think about the service they provide for us? Imagine for a moment, that there was not garbage collection? Where would we put our dirty diapers, or our nasty smelling spoiled cantaloupe? We would just leave it in our backyards? Even if there was a dump we could take it to, how excited are you to transport the putrid smelling rubbish you have accumulated over the last week? How long will it take for that horrific smell to finally disappear from your car? These heroic garbagemen and garbagewomen, as the case may be, are providing you and I an enormously important service. And for that we are obligated to thank them.
   In addition we can all bask in admiration of our local garbage collection team for their dedication to their jobs, and their hard work. What job is there that requires more effort and sacrifice? Up here in the frigid Northeastern tundras, it gets bloody cold. And yet, every week, no matter what the temperature, rain, shine, hail, snow, blizzards, monsoons, what have you, they come, every single week, without fail. Are we as dedicated to our jobs as they? Are we willing to invest as much as they are? All I can do, is tip my metaphorical hat in admiration.
   Finally, we should give them credit for dutifully performing their jobs, despite not receiving any thanks, or positive feedback. Human beings crave compliment, and positive reinforcement. Mark Twain himself said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment." And even if you wanted to, like a mighty flash of lightening, the garbage truck can come roaring by like a mighty lion ready to pounce on its unsuspecting prey, at any time, whether we are ready for it or not. Sometimes, in the grey, cold, Northeast, the garbage truck comes cruising down the block at 4:00 in the morning. Even the most noble intentioned Americans out there are not going to be waiting for the garbage man at 4:00 AM in their flannel jammies. It is a more thankless job than being a clergy member. And yet, they come through every single week. And even if they were mad at you for having too much garbage, what can they do about it? At least a waiter in a restaurant who is mistreated can spit in your food, or something. Not so with the garbage man. He just comes through for you, EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.
       So Henry, I ask you the following question: When was the last time you thanked your garbage man? I triple dogg dare all of my thousands upon thousands of dedicated readers from Idaho to Belize, from Montana to Dji Bouti-- figure out a way to acknowledge your local garbage collectors for their hard work. Maybe glue a gift card onto the garbage bin, or tie a bow around it with a note. We all need to look at ourselves in the mirror and honestly answer the following very difficult question: When was the last time I thanked my garbage man?

Forever Yours,
Danny Wolfe

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