I fell off the trash truck

Yes, it’s true. At one time in my life I was a trash man. I worked for a small city, and one time I was helping another fellow on the trash route. We’d worked together many times and had developed  a system that really sped up the route. He’d drive and I’d hang on the back. When we came to trash bags that had been placed at the end of a driveway, Larry–yes, his name was Larry also (stop the Bob Newhart Show references to “I’m Darrel, this is my brother Larry, and this is my other brother Larry” right now!)…anyway, larry would slow down and I’d hold on the truck with one arm and lean out and grab the bags and with one brilliant move I’d flip them into the back of the truck as Larry kept driving. It was a great system that could have revolutionized waste management for all ages. Until…

Let me put it this way: people who put seventy-five pounds of shingles into a black trash bag should be arrested.

So here came Larry & Larry rolling down the street, their fool-proof system of trash collection on display. The next thing I know I’m laying on the ground next to a nearly immovable bag of shingles and wondering what happened. I rolled over on my side to see that the trash truck had come to a stop a couple of house down. The other Larry wasn’t even trying to hide his outburst of unnecessarily loud laughter.

We altered our system from that day forward.

Okay…hold on…here comes the segue: sometimes the writer’s life is like hanging on the back of a moving trash truck chucking trash bags into the back. (Wow, that was a lot of stretching…I think I may have pulled something).

I was embarrassed, but I just got up, dusted myself off, and went on with my job that day. As a writer, some days I get a lot done and other days I feel like I’ve been smacked to the ground by a bag of shingles. On those days I have a decision to make…quit or keep doing my job.

If you are new to this writing thing, I can promise you that there are a few surprises along the route. I endured the embarrassment–along with other demeaning things that come along with being a city worker–because my family was depending on me to bring home a paycheck. As a writer, you have to decide if your motivation for writing is strong enough to overcome the “down” days.

Whatever happens, let me urge you to get back up on the back of the trash truck and roll on.




Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Writing

4 responses to “I fell off the trash truck

  1. Nice story. Working a real job (in the labor industry) can really benefit our writing life. I once worked at a plastics factory. It wasn’t the actually work that gave me much inspiration, but the interaction between the workers. Keep up the good writing.

    • Tony,
      Thanks for the reply. You are right about working a job out in the “real” world. I’ve drawn from those experiences–and plan to continue to do so–to make my characters/stories authentic. I’ve been a janitor, preaacher, city worker (which included trash man, cemetery sexton, etc…), funeral director, grocery store employee, bookstore employee, and a few other things. Definitly fertile experiences.

  2. Strangely the trash metaphor is appropriate to my output lately. Have you been peeking over my shoulder?

  3. Joe,
    I wish I could say I was peekng over your shoulder, because that would mean I was enjoying a time of fellowship with a dear friend. But, alas, I’m still here in central Kansas plugging away.

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