I Discovered the Source of Litter

Today was trash day here in 46203. Indy’s Department of Public Works sent out their men and trucks to do the Lord’s work.

For years as I worked during the day and made the habit of bringing the trash to the curb in a trash can and coming home to retrieve it, I often had to go fetch the can out of the middle of the street or in the neighbor’s yard. I always just thought, “The wind must have blown it over there.”

Then, for a while, the mailman would leave nasty notes in my box saying things like “Please allow clearance near your mailbox for the postal worker.” When it would snow and the plows shoved snow up under the box and trash day would roll around I’d get two nasty notes. One calling me a loser for not allowing clearance and another calling me out for a failure to remove snow. Despite the fact that there was no time to deal with either.

Today, on trash day, I have learned the source of all the world’s litter: shoddy trash men. I had this vision in my head that a trash truck quietly rolls along the street and two appropriately dressed men would climb down calmly, pick up my trash receptacle with two hands, give it a good lift and shake it to bring out the trash. Then, they would look inside to make sure it’s empty and proceed to gingerly set it down where I left it on the corner slab of my driveway that was almost made just for such a trash can.

That is not how the scene works in reality.

Instead, when the trash men come rolling by and the noisy truck pulls along, they just hop off the back and toss trash around like a sack of potatoes. Except, you can’t treat trash bags like sacks of potatoes. The result is a bunch of trash just laying around the street and curb after bags break and crap falls out. I sit here at the house now that I’m self-employed and watch the trash guys handle my trash can like it was a nerd getting a swirly. Then, as the guy is walking the other direction he does a process I can only describe as “letting it go”. The trash can just sorta flails around like a beached whale for a while in the middle of the street.

Since trash pickup comes at 11:30 and the mailman comes at 12, the trash can will eventually lodge itself under the mailbox in such a way to strategically piss off the mailman.

The result is a trash-laden curb and nasty notes in my mailbox.

Want to know when stuff like this is published?
Sign up for my email list.

Photo of Justin Harter


Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

Leave a Comment