The garbage man is my secret buddy.
You see, like most people, I can not invest the time required to put the trash out in front of my home according to the proper rules and requirements of our municipality.
Let's take those plastic trash liner bags.
Every few weeks, my mother-in-law engages in a purification ritual. It's her way of reminding us that we are slobs. It is known as The Great Periodic Cleaning Of Our Refrigerator.
She puts everything that needs to be thrown out into a single polyethylene garbage bag designed to hold about three pounds of garbage. By the time she's done that bag is filled with lots of glass jars holding only remnants of various products that used to stare out at us from inside the refrigerator screaming moldy and disgusting. Each item tossed into that sack seems to have some kind of liquefied property that adds to its weight exponentially.
That groaning glad bag is the last thing the trash man wants to see when he pulls up in front of my house.
The modern refuse corporation sends a lone man out into the neighborhoods to drive the truck all by himself, getting in and out house after house to load the trash. The days of the two or three man operation have gone the way of the Edsel and the Corvair.
Overcome with guilt upon setting out two trash containers so heavy that my son named them Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah, I got the idea of placing a $10 bill taped to each one.
Without complaint these items made their way into that metal monster that creeps into our cul-de-sac once a week.
I extended my theory to yard waste. Sticks and shrubbery are required to be only 4 feet in length and wrapped in bundles not to exceed 18 inches in diameter.
The problem is that I am way too clumsy and to be honest with you too lazy to construct bundles so neatly. Who has time to create compact tubular masterpieces from yard waste?
The bundles that I place on the tree lawn are more like giant grotesque scary-dream tumbleweeds you'd find in a Tim Burton movie.
A strategically placed $10 bill taped to a branch ensures that my leavings will have disappeared by the time I return home from work.
Am I abusing the overworked and underpaid waste management employee who visits my driveway apron once every seven days?
No I am not. Quite the contrary, I have established a solid if subtly expressed friendship with my buddy Mickey the garbage man.
Every now and then my morning departure and his morning arrival coincide and he smiles a grateful knowing smile.
His smile tells me that just about everybody on his route has a heavy bagging mother-in-law just like me. His smile tells me that everybody else in the neighborhood is as incapable of complying with the city's gift wrapping requirements for collected sticks and vegetation.
Mickey is grateful that someone is thoughtful enough to slip him something extra for his trouble. Somebody cares about his aching back.
Please don't swing by my home looking for a free 10 spot in the morning. My habits are mostly unpredictable and you'll probably find nothing.
But just in case it is one of those days that I want to let Mickey know that I appreciate his extra hard work, let Alexander Hamilton smile on this laborer in overalls.
Mickey and I are friends and I want to keep it that way.