In a momentous occasion, Natalie and I cleaned out the barn. This was the first barn clean out since Thomas was born, which meant the barn had accumulated two years worth of detritus. Alas, if only I could accumulate wealth as fast as I could accumulate junk, then I could afford to keep my junk by building another barn to store it in. But the dream of another barn is silly daydreaming. In fact, I was given an ultimatum to either channel my inner Marie Kondo, or else my wife was going to spark her own joy by banishing me to our barn until it was cleaned out.
We took four pickup truck loads of trash to the dump. To be honest, I’m not sure my nerves could have taken any more trips to the dump that day. Usually, there is only one old man guarding access to the compactor, but on the one day we decide to clean out the barn, they just happened to have two old men trash inspectors on duty, each sitting in a lawn chair, each poking at stuff in the compactor with long poles, and each hitting the big red compactor button every so often–yep, definitely a two man job.
I have learned from experience that old men trash inspectors don’t play. They can make your life a living hell, mainly by declaring your load to be demolition materials, which means you then have to journey thirty minutes to landfill and pay five dollars to dispose of your trash. And whatever you do, don’t dare try to sneak a paint can into the extractor by hiding it in a trash bag. Old men trash inspectors can smell a paint can from a mile away.
Our county recently imposed a new ordinance that requires everybody who lives in the county to put a green sticker on the upper left corner of their windshield. In my opinion, this green sticker is more important than my social security number. The green sticker signifies that I’m a genuine county resident, and thus I have the right to dispose of my junk in the county’s trash facilities. Apparently, outsiders from South Carolina had been smuggling their trash across the state line and thus clogging up our compactors with their rubbish.
If I ever decide to turn to a life of crime, I think I will start by counterfeiting green stickers to sell to South Carolinians. From what I can surmise, there is too much competition already in drugs and guns, but I bet the cartels haven’t thought about all the money they could make from interstate rubbish smuggling. I would say that farming could be my front for laundering all my green sticker proceeds, but I doubt that would work given my track record. In fact, nobody in their right mind would ever believe that I could run a highly profitable farm.