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  • Writer's pictureJoe

Going Topless

I hope you’re sitting down because I have some shocking news for you: for now and the foreseeable future, I shall be going topless. Perhaps some further explanation is warranted to help ease your nerves regarding this matter and perhaps save you the trouble of contacting the authorities.

The scandalous chain of events that caused this uncomfortable situation has its origin in the snowstorm that hit Fulton last week. A snowstorm in January is certainly nothing new around these parts. That is what makes the story even more tragic.

It was “garbage day” in my section of the city, and my trash sat sealed and snug in their containers, waiting to be picked up – which they were, right on time. But this particular day saw the wind pick up to treacherous levels, and I feared for the safety of my trash receptacles. As soon as I heard the sanitation truck pass my house, I went outside to corral the containers and put them in my garage. But by the time I got there, the damage had already been done: one of the lids was missing.

I searched the neighborhood, but it was no use. No doubt the combination of gale winds and its Frisbee-like shape sent it flying away. By the time I got there, it was probably already in Minetto. Sadly, I was forced to give up my quest.

But the story continues.

Today I found myself in my favorite shopping superstore, hoping to put an end to this horrendous tale of woe. I selected a brand new lid, tossed it into my cart, and headed to the checkout line. And that is where the story takes a turn for the worse.

The cashier lifted the lid from the conveyor belt and look me dead in the eyes. “Why are you buying a garbage can lid?” she asked.

At first, I thought maybe she was the kind of person who took special interest in her clients, but that didn’t seem likely. Still, I am not the kind of person who easily shares such intimate personal details, so I opted for a simple answer.

“I need one. My old one flew away.” That was all the information she would get out of me. The conversation continued.

“Well, you can’t buy one,” she replied. “We don’t sell them.”

“Then what are you holding in your hand?” I asked, becoming slightly queasy at the uneasy exchange of question and answer.

“I mean that we don’t sell them by themselves. They only come with garbage cans. To get a lid, you have to buy a can.”

“But I don’t need a can. I already have one. I only need the lid,” I said.

“Those are the rules. Anyhow, lids don’t even have a UPC code. I can’t ring it up.”

Those in fact were the rules. The cashier caller her supervisor to render a decision and tell me my options. It was true. I was not allowed to purchase a lid unless I bought the can to go with it. Being a law-abiding citizen who did not want to violate any sanitation ordinances, I decided to thank them for their time and return home.

On my drive home, I began to wonder about these so-called “rules.” This particular one didn’t seem very wise. Surely other people would find themselves in the same position as me. Surely others would want to purchase a trash can lid. Why weren’t they for sale all by themselves?

Ideas floated around my mind. Could this possibly be a diabolical scheme whereby store employees wander the neighborhoods on trash day and misappropriate trash can lids in order to boost sales of cans? That was one possibility. If that were true, I had better buy a new can or else I would be putting can workers out of their jobs; and I would be responsible for ruining the economy.

Another possibility is that we in America now live in a throw-away society. We don’t repair anything. We don’t sew torn clothes or mend cracked things. We toss in the trash and buy another of the same, brand shiny new. Of course I have no proof of this, but I bet if you checked how glue sales were going, it would give a clue into the trend.

As for my dilemma, I don’t see a solution at the moment. So I will have to go topless. I will be forced to put my trash into the garbage can without a lid and hope that the wind does not send it flying around the neighborhood. In the meantime, I’m saving up to buy the complete set: garbage lid and can. But when that happens, I will have a new dilemma…

How do you get rid of a garbage can?

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