Dump Reflections Part I: Garbage Is Not Solid Waste

When I was a kid I thought the dump was the coolest place on earth. I was right.

A “dump” is the glorious place where you dispose of both boring household garbage and cool stuff like broken lamps and trashed lawnmowers. You can learn a lot at a dump. Dumps are the non-metaphoric end of the line for the material possessions that make us better than cavemen. They’re also the end game of Wal-Mart consumerism which probably makes us worse.

Dumps are a window on local government because they’re run by an alphabet soup of local or regional entities. They’ll inexplicably try to obscure the purpose of a dump; calling it something euphemistic like “solid waste facility”. This is an affront to humanity and reason why bureaucrats are thought of as snobbish yahoos. It is a dump and all right thinking humans know that’s the proper word.

Urban and rural citizens have different relationships to the dump. The urban language is awash in smoke and mirrors vocabulary: City dwellers use (“are desperately dependent upon”) contractors (“monopolistic garbage disposal conglomerates”) to haul their solid waste (“crap”) to the solid waste facility (“dump”). They pay (“get screwed”) a lot (“hard”) for this voluntary (“mandatory”) service. Rural folk avoid euphemisms; we put crap in trucks and drive it to the dump. We can’t totally avoid the spin; we pay nothing (“get taxed”) for this “free” service (“not free”) and participate voluntarily (“voluntary in the sense that you can choose to not pay property taxes and wind up homeless”).

Hauling your own garbage is good for you. The antiseptic relationship suburbanites have with garbage hides realities. A sweaty redneck hefting a broken dishwasher onto a pile of discarded appliances understands the environment and recycling in ways that his urban brethren don’t. He’s less likely to get all atwitter about a recyclable grocery bag because he’s seen things.

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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One Response to Dump Reflections Part I: Garbage Is Not Solid Waste

  1. Anonymous says:

    When my grandmother was in her late 70s my mom caught her shredding her diary.
    Mom: What are you doing?
    Grandma: I don’t want old Mrs. XXX finding it at the dump and reading it after I’m dead.

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