‘Member That Time Monday: How A Garbage Can Brought Me To My Knees


A litter bin located on College Green, Bristol...
Image via Wikipedia

Every Monday I’ll write a post about an event that has happened to me. Today I write about a time a dug through the garbage (in public) for something I cherished.

‘member that time last year when I dropped my name tag in a locked garbage can?

Let me step back for a moment and provide some context for this story. In my organization we wear uniforms that are not complete without name tags bearing our name and title within the organization. When we first got these name tags, they were precious, as we hadn’t gotten any other parts of our uniform to that point. I cherished my name tag and devoted countless minutes to its protection during and after work.

One Friday after work I was walking around downtown San José and realized that my pockets were extremely overloaded (as my pockets often do) and decided to empty them at a nearby trashcan. Can you see where this is going? I reached into my pockets and pulled out a handful of what I thought was useless trash (receipts, bottle caps, paperclips, etc.) and tossed it into the receptacle only to catch a glance at my name tag flying toward certain peril.

The terror that struck my face was gripping to me (probably humorous to a passerby) and I had no idea what to do next. I picked up my phone and called my boss to inform her that I’d dropped my name tag in a locked garbage can. What was I thinking?! What could she possibly have done for me in that moment? Say

“OK, I’ll come over and shrink myself so I can get your name tag for you.”?

She didn’t answer. I left some unintelligible message (that she later played out loud for her colleagues) about my issue and hung up.

It’s hard for me to admit what I did next but I will. I rolled up my sleeves and made several attempts to get to the bottom of that garbage can but to no avail. The object was out of reach. Picture this scene, young male, early 20s, on his knees, arm deep in a garbage can. Yeah, that was me.

After what seemed like forever (and was probably 5 minutes) a city employee appeared and asked about why I was configured in such a precarious position. I guess to him, I didn’t look like the kind of guy to have a quarter of his body in a garbage can. I explained that I had lost “something very valuable” and asked if he could help me retrieve it. Amazingly enough, he had a ‘key’ to the receptacle and pulled the container out and said, “I don’t see anything valuable.” But I did! There was my name tag in all of its glory, nestled among crumpled receipts, bottle caps, and paperclips. He looked at me incredulously and shook his head. With a “thank you!” I was on my way.

Now I rarely use public garbage cans anymore.

Have you ever lost something in the trash? Leave it in the comments!

One Comment Add yours

  1. naya429 says:

    Bottle caps and paperclips? Really? Not judging, just curious.
    Well, when I was younger I threw out my retainers. Yep. The classic story of the chubby, dorky girl with glasses and retainers… and after lunch accidentally throws out her retainers.

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