Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Johann Wagener 11-27-13

In a civil society, at least in my town, trash collectors are given  the day off on Thanksgiving and most of other nationally recognized holidays. For most of America's workforce receiving a paid holiday off, has become a thing of the past; something their parents and grandparents talk about.

I know I'll be getting flak from the "politically correct" crowd, for referring to "sanitation technicians" as trash collectors. But, let's be real here. I think the people that do the job and those they serve all know that what they do is pick up American's trash. Just as the "N" word doesn't excuse racism, neither does "sanitation" sanitize collecting trash.

In my opinion they are "first responders" though I've never heard anyone refer to them as such.  These people are out in our streets every day hauling away disease ridden, toxic, and dangerous waste; putting themselves at risk, to keep America clean. How does that compare with firefighters, policeman, and others in the ranks of first responders?

Yet the only recognition they get might be a Christmas card from some conscientious person in a neighborhood they clean up. Their employers express their appreciation by giving them holidays, like Thanksgiving off. The only impact that has on me or my neighbors is that we will put out the trash on Friday.

America’s largest city generates garbage in torrents—11,000 tons from households each day on average. But New Yorkers don’t give it much attention. They leave their trash on the curb or drop it in a litter basket, and promptly forget about it. And why not? On a schedule so regular you could almost set your watch by it, someone always comes to take it away.

But who, exactly, is that someone? And why is he—or she—so unknown?