When Garbage Men Became Sanitation Workers

Garbage trucks on a city dump of dust

Even back then, I thought it ironic that I was hired to guard a landfill, but as I pulled many back-to-back isolated, twelve-hour shifts, I began to see much more of my nation than I cared to in what really was the rectum of the country. They say we can tell a good deal about our health looking at our crap and sniffing our own gas. This is only true if we know what to look for and what to smell for.

First, I found it humorous and sad that the way we get rid of things we don’t want is to bury them. I watched that Hill grow like a tumor, and I watched the liquid liner they would lay down, the barrier that would keep millions of tons of seeping sludge out of the ground water. The canal was maybe one-hundred feet from the Hill. When the landfill was open, I would log-in every truck from seven to seven bringing in tons and tons of “non-hazardous” waste, but waste is only as non-hazardous as the one who resides over it. Will the ones on the Hill protect you and the lifeline that runs right next to death?

Yes, it was enhanced interrogation at the Hill to work there as the first line of defense, but what was I defending? I envisioned myself at the bottom of the Hill where I noticed a tiny rupture, a tiny leak, and with a total disregard—more out of the thoughtlessness of the moment than the selflessness of heroes—I stuck my bare hand in it. But I soon realized that my hand was holding back a country’s worth of shit, and not just shit, but shit of the worst kind. Before long, I would be consumed and drowned in it.

As it reached my knees, I remembered the poor landfill worker that got off the garbage truck as it dumped its many lost Bills, Earmarks, Policies, true history, and those damn shredded documents and emails that keep disappearing, and he was run over by a bulldozer. Now these are not big like the bulldozers you see on the road or at the side of them. They are even more consuming than big State politics. They are earth movers. The tires alone can swallow a monster truck. They never found him. I imagine the first responders, the police and rescue teams digging through tons of State Capital with Seagull crap falling like torrents of rain looking for something human, when all they could find was a heap full of lost history.

It was not only history, for history is always written by those that won, but true history is found among those that lost and are tossed away along with the documents that bite. No they were not just trucks carrying trash, but they became trucks carrying humans. Whatever the reason, the type of “garbage” was always written on the outside so that it was disposed of properly. As I took in the fresh air of springtime flowers at the beginning of one breath and then got the stench of a rotten corpse near its end, I understood the Forefather’s need for balance. For what was written on the truck may have started as good intent or political correctness only to end as genocide and tyranny.

So I reflected, since that’s all I could do waiting for death: I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was smelling shit. It smells like crap so it is, right? No, not all shit smells, so I need to have reasonable suspicion that I am smelling something, and before we know it, what we think is a dead body turns out to be a flower. We execute the florist and the murder all the same and bury them in the Hill.

It was none other than a garbage man or the politically correct term sanitation worker (or sanitation engineer) that noticed me and pulled me to safety. Not only was I grateful for a new chance at life, but I had a new appreciation for the people that take on this country’s shit every day and buy it for us. We may not be getting the truth, but at least we have a sanitary nation. To all those men and women that handle the shit democracy brings, I thank you. Besides, you have really cool trucks; just be careful what you write on them.

Author: dropoutprofessor

A professor of English and Social Sciences that enjoys writing. Hope you enjoy my posts. All published work on this blog is my own. Pictures are used under license from Depositphotos.com or Shutterstock.com, unless otherwise noted.

One thought on “When Garbage Men Became Sanitation Workers”

  1. Dear Dr. Dropout:
    This piece is a beautifully written, incisive look at our Nation’s health through the ground-zero eyes of he who sees all, smells all, knows too much. Well done.
    Yours,
    One who can’t help but smell his crap

    Liked by 1 person

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