Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Early this morning, half asleep as the garbage truck rumbled up my block *, I raced out to the curb with a large white hefty bag of trash in each hand. Then I scurried back indoors before the neighbors could spot me in my black-and-blue wiener dog boxers.

Anyway …

For some reason I thought about that this morning at work. Two large white hefty bags of trash. Twice a week, Tuesday and Friday mornings, for pickup. That’s 208 bags of trash a year, not counting spring cleaning (which we did a month ago, focusing on organizing our garage), which probably contributes another dozen bags of garbage.

220 bags of trash annually from the Hopper household of four.

I felt guilty.

Until …

I glanced around my office at work. My own little private office where I do payroll for 650 employees at 12 locations. I have it all to myself for privacy reasons. I did some mental calculations. How many bags of trash could fit into this office, about the size of my living room at home?

Well, I visualized stacking 5 bags of trash atop one another. Then, 10 along the short wall and 13 along the other. The long wall I estimated at 12, but my office is kinda shaped like Utah, so there’s a little nook where I could probably stack those extra bags of trash.

Basically my little office at work can hold 5 x 10 x 13 bags of trash …

650 white hefty bags of trash in all.

Or, slightly less than three years of garbage.

I’m sure the compacter at wherever they take the trash can smush all that down to a quarter of the size they are when I haul them out to the curb in my boxers.

Thus, my little office at work can hold 2,600 compacted bags of Hopper trash … 11.8 years’ worth, in other words.

So that’s why right now I don’t feel guilty.

* = the company my town hired to truck away our trash likes to come at different times of the morning, just to keep all us townfolk on our toes. Sometimes they roll up at 6:15 AM. Other days, four and a half hours later. I used to put the garbage out the night before, but despite living in suburbia and only five houses from a major highway, raccoons, rabbits, ravens and toms cats routinely tear into trash bags left curbside overnight. Thus my early morning runs out to the curb in various states of semi-dress.

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