Trash … just trash

Bill Miles

Ever wonder where a columnist gets ideas from which they write stories for publications like the one you’re reading? I can’t speak for any others since I’ve never seen a revelation but I suspect we’d all be surprised to learn this truth. I read quite a few other folks’ ‘pieces’ and sometimes disagree. Often I have no position and forget what I’ve read. Occasionally I agree. I’m always amazed at the simplistic answers op-ed contributors and letter writers offer for very complex social issues. This column is an outgrowth of an observation I made at my residence about an hour before coming in the house, slamming the ‘on’ button for my word processor and grinding away as if my life depends on my assertion. To set the stage I’m fortunate (or less) to live on a county road with a fairly lengthy front footage. I love my big yard which I manicure regularly with the help of an associate. I enjoy hearing people compliment my lawn. I diligently attempt to keep it clean of trash which appears regularly after its origin from Hardees, Wendy, Sonic, KFC and MacDonald’s. I get a share of other fast food outlets not even located in my hometown. I see other original sources of litter from retail establishments. Now, I don’t blame them. I wish I could. Nearly all of them disclaim the eventual trash I pick up by admonishing their customers to ‘properly dispose’ of it by doing what Dak Prescott says. “Can It”. I detest litter. When I was bottling up a piece of legislation in the Mississippi House of Representatives because I recognized political reality, I’d get ‘orchestrated call-ins’ when I appeared on the Mississippi Public Broadcasting program with Senate counterparts. My ‘pat’ answer was “If passing a law made things work, we’d have the cleanest highways and streets in the world because we have really tough penalties to promote anti-littering.” Later when the timing was right, the legislation I prevented as Committee Chair was promoted by me and the ‘right’ folks. It passed overwhelmingly and I received a national citation for my support. But back to my fury over constantly having to pick up other people’s throwaways in my front yard. I like to see if there are any personal identifying features on the stuff. I hit a jackpot today. It came with Wal-Mart’s logo on it. I found parts of a filled drug prescription tag with name, product and instructions on how to take it. In reviewing the information I noted that its recipient was the wife of a person who I recognized as being a candidate for public office this summer. One of the responsibilities of the job her spouse aspires to occupy is to maintain public facilities. I could have done like a cousin of mine said he did a few years ago. Someone ‘strowed’ a garbage sack near his front yard. He just rummaged through it, found the name of its owner, took the re-filled sack to the person’s home and told him he was returning his stuff. I thought the best I could do would be to register an opposition vote for that family member as my protest. Then I realized the candidate would be in a different primary from the one in which I’ll vote. I plan to mark my ballot for my preference on who guides our state for the next four years. That means more to me than having to endure a little front yard litter. I’ve survived what I perceive to be more garbage pushed on citizens in recent years than I have to deal with on the roadsides. By the way. A fine of up to $500 can be levied if you get caught and prosecuted for throwing trash out of your vehicle onto a public road or interstate. Voters seem to forget similar political acts and re-elect the culprits. I close by recalling what I heard was a conversation with author William Faulkner when I was in college. The tale goes that he was in Blaylock’s Drug Store on the Square in Oxford where he liked to linger. A lady recognized him and rushed up saying, “Oh, Mr. Faulkner, I understand you have written a new book. What’s it about?” “Trash, D---- trash,” was supposed to have been his response.

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