In 1997, a terrible American songwriter Paula Cole, released what was her best selling track "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone". I have no idea what the song was about, maybe the supposed end of chivalry or some other crap I don't care about. Over the years various outlets have parodied the song from Family Guy to the NBA, and that is where the song had some value. For one reason or another I think of the chorus almost everyday and my version would be 'Where Have All The Trashcans Gone'?
If you're like my 2 1/2 year old son and want to pick up random trash for the unspeakable joy of throwing it into a garbage can, you're S.O.L. Take a walk around your town and I would bet dollars to donuts that when you need to toss something into the trash you end up carrying it home, back to your car or some absurd distance to what you think is a trashcan but turns out to be an ashtray. Public ashtrays are more prevalent than trashcans these days. How is that possible? As a society, we have turned the stink-eye on smokers. You can't smoke anywhere and it's great. But if you do smoke, you can put your cigarette out just about anywhere. Huh?
At the same time we have supposedly become more environmentally conscious. But for all our recent affection for our planet, I can't find a trashcan even at places like Whole Foods and I live in San Diego. Whole Foods has a place for me to recycle those stupid plastic bags we put our veggies into, a place to compost my salad container and even an ashtray outside to put out a butt. Yet I have walk to the other end of the strip mall to throw out a dirty diaper.
I don't drink coffee. I don't drink soda. If I snack on chips or some other bagged product, then it's likely at home. But I do change a lot of diapers out the trunk of my car. A urine filled diaper will take some time and some reasonable heat to permeate the air in your car, but it's no surprise that a number 2 will ruin your automobile whether you're in the tundra or the Sahara in a matter of a minute. Naturally, I want to throw these potty bombs out ASAP. But unless you're at a gas station then your probably riding home with the windows down. I just don't remember this being a problem when I was a kid.
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and rural Connecticut and I spent a good deal of time in Philadelphia and New York. Public trashcans were everywhere; walk a block or two, and there it was just ready for your personal waste. I remember seeing trashcans completely overflowing and people still delicately placing their garbage on top as if to say "there's still room for my 6 drink Starbucks coffee tote". The same way my wife and I do at home until something falls over and you're forced to take it out because you lost at trashcan Jenga.
Did our towns and cities cut down on wages for trash collection? Are the guys portrayed in The Sopranos not running waste management anymore? Can we blame a political party for this atrocity? Is Norv Turner ultimately at fault for this too? There's already more questions than trashcans.
Maybe there is something we can do with this though, like a diet program...
Did you get fat this holiday season? Want to lose some weight? No problem. Head down to your Main Street, center city or downtown and run to three public garbage cans. The average person burns about 100 calories per mile run. You will probably travel 1.5 miles before you find three garbage cans. Run back and that's 300 calories. Do that 10 times and that's 3000 calories, which is roughly one pound. Call it the Mother Earth Makeover and send me $19.99. As always, consult your physician before joining any exercise program.