5 Life Lessons in 2 Minutes

Some people say I’m a very “negative person.”

First of all, fuck you. Who asked you?

Second, you are right. But not for the reasons you think — so wipe that stupid smirk off your face right now, missy (or mister, or however you might identify yourself today).

When these people say I’m negative, they mean I say their shitty ideas will never work. OK, I do sometimes do that, but not “every” time you goddamn pansies — learn to live with a little realism in your “brainstorming session.”

But I am a completely “negative person” when it comes to learning new things.

You can show me all the people who are “great” examples. But I can’t learn shit from them.

I can not imagine myself being smooth, or charming or likable, so I cannot connect to those people.

But show me a fool or a failure like fucking Donald J. Trump, and I can see exactly what not to do.

An early negative example for me, was neither a fool nor failure. He was just a guy with bad timing. I only met him once. I never learned his name. He didn’t know it at the time, but he spelled out 5 life lessons in 2-minutes.

It was my first part-time job. I was maybe 15. I was hauling all the used cardboard boxes out of the Star Market to the dumpster. It was the Star Market in Highland Square just west of downtown Akron, Ohio.

This was late 70’s. There was no fucking recycling bin (so don’t ask, you douchebag millennial). We took deposits on bottles and sent those back for the 3 cents. But cardboard, aluminum cans, newspapers went in the trash with the fermented milk, the moldy cheese, the rotten vegetables… We topped it off with the leftover fat and guts and slime from the butcher shop.

On a hot summer day, the smell from that dumpster could burn the hairs out of your nose and free your mind from reality like a middle-aged Dead Head.

It was hot and humid, so I’m tossing boxes from as far away as possible. And then stuff starts moving in the dumpster like the trash compactor scene in Star Wars. Scared the shit out of me.

dumpster diving

Then he stood up. He was a big man, 275-300 pounds, maybe late 40’s early 50’s. Covered in dirty overalls with a black wool cap that might have been red or brown at one time. Sweat and slime glistened from every part of his face and every angle of his stiff clothes.

He was pulling my boxes and other shit into his own recycle pile.

“Take it easy kid,” he said. “Sam” (the manager) “knows I do this.” There was a small, dirty pickup truck parked nearby. It was half-filled with dumpster divings.

“I used to work at Firestone,” he said. “Made good money as a tire maker. But then this.”

He took off his glove and showed his right hand. Some of the thumb and all the fingers were gone.

“I was using my table saw at home,” he said. “If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t have gone to the hospital… I would have waited until morning and carried those fingers into work and thrown them on the ground.”

What the hell?

“I would have gotten workman’s comp and been 100-percent disabled,” he said. “I might have even been able to sue them for damages…”

He put his glove back on what was left of his right hand.

I started throwing my boxes directly into his truck, and I grabbed some of the cleaner shit from the top of the dumpster too. But that’s all I did. I had to get back to my job. The big man kept diving into the dumpster.

I never did see him out there again, but every future dumpster trip, I could see anything “valuable” had been removed.

Do you see the 5 lessons in his negative example? Here’s what I got out of it:

  • The universe doesn’t give a fuck about you and will screw you in a second

  • Your job doesn’t give a shit about you either. Get hurt and you will be the one in the dumpster

  • Learn to work with your mind, not your hands. Fingers, feet, hands, legs or arms “get lost” or break easy, and then what the fuck do you do

  • You are in deep shit when you are a “Wannabe Disabled.” But for some people that’s the best “life” they could live

  • Never use a table saw

* Image from: https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/from-syrian-refugee-camp-to-dumpster-diving-in-memphis-tn/