At six years old, I stepped outside to the sight of a man doing the most exciting thing I’d ever seen: he was riding the back of a trash truck. No door. No seatbelt. Hell, no seat.
A man of the people. Cool. Calm. Dirty. I ran inside, enlightened, and exclaimed to my mother that the advent of my post-adolescent aspirations was ripening to the tune of mashing aluminum. Well. I suppose that’s not entirely true. I was six and lacking a vocabulary; I also had a weird speech thing (it’s gone now, thank you) so it came out more like “I wann do dat.” She set me aside and said, “son, if you grow up to be a trash worker, you’ll—” I stopped listening at “trash worker,” as I’d already mentally tagged this man’s profession as “dude who tames wheeled robots and proceeds to ride them.” Anyway.
My eagerness to drift around town with no regard for the legalities of seatbelt laws carried me until approximately May of last year, at which point I was denied employment at Waste Management upon slamming a Fine Arts degree on the desk and exclaiming, “let me tame wheeled robots, dammit.” The clerk, Bernice, snarled a toothless smile, puffed the last half of a Marlboro in my face and said, “we don’t need no artists.” Confused and ashamed, I moved to Boulder, CO to market carrots for the planet’s most successful advertising agency and later vacated to Washington, DC, where I’m currently employed at a local design studio.