Friday morning, I took Peggy to work so that I could round her up later to go to the annual Smith College Used Book Sale out at the fairgrounds, an event we never miss.
But on the way home, I had to deal with traffic going the other way, and when I got close to home there was a slight backup because of the presence of the trash truck on Summit Avenue.
The guy who rides the back of the truck was grabbing the bags and cans, tossing garbage into the giant maw of the truck, while at the same time trying to direct traffic around it! He was giving another driver the "Come on!" wave, and a woman driving a Volvo wagon was reluctant to heed his advice. So she sat and we all sat, and finally the guy - still working all along - turned back to her and began giving the same sort of signals that a third base coach gives to a runner rounding the bag and heading for home. At last emboldened, she drove along, and the traffic began to flow again.
Because I seem unable to refrain from commenting on everything anymore, I put my window down and said to the guy, "People need to listen to what you're trying to tell them!"
And he said, "People don't want to listen to me; I'm just a trash man."
Just a trash man? Can you imagine the howling that would have ensued if just once he and his coworkers decided not to show up for work, and when citizens called up the County howling that their bags and cans were still sitting by the curb, they were told there would be no "trash man" for them that day?
I don't think we should look down on anyone doing any honest work. I think that neighborhood watch groups should be set up to keep an eye on crooks like the people at Goldman Sachs. They are the people who should feel our disdain, not a guy who's out there slinging the Heftys and trying to help people drive around the truck.
Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that the following people could take off and fly beyond the moon without their absence affecting the quality of our lives one iota:
Any cast member of any "Real Housewives" show. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Harold Camping. Any Kardashian. Julie Chen. The inventor of pink slime. Hank Williams, Jr. Sean Hannity. Ann Coulter. Adam Lambert.
In fact, we could get along without any singers, dancers, actors or entertainers, but try going a few weeks without people who pick up the trash, plow the streets (if it ever snows again), ride the fire engines and medic units, enforce the laws, and heal the sick and the disenchanted.
I once lived in a place with no trash pickup. Every week, everyone had to go to the County Dump and toss their garbage. No one liked it. I don't recommend it.
The people who gather our garbage deserve a thanks now and then. On the hottest day of summer, I like to leave them a disposable foam cooler iced down with six chillers for later.
I have never left a can of beer where Sean Hannity could get to it, even though it might improve his delivery and his consciousness.