#44 When You Grow Up Poor…

… you have a dream of becoming a garbage man. When you grow up and realize that college is a real thing that kids actually go to and its not just a thing that people do on TV, and then you realize that there is no way you’ll ever be going and you missed the boat with a passion, you turn your ambition toward manual labor to support your post-high school self. You decide construction work is a great idea but then quickly realize that you need to know how to build things and you need tools. So you set your sights again, but this time toward your childhood dream. Garbage man. There’s nothing better! You get to wear a jump suit. You get to ride on the back of the truck! You get tan and ripped while you work. And it pays $18 bucks an hour at a time when minimum wage is $5.50 an hour. So you go to the garbage place (the garbage place?) and say “Hello, I’d like to be a garbage man.” And the lady behind the bullet proofed counter looks at you, cocks her eyebrow, takes a drag on her cigarette, and then (and I paraphrase here only slightly) says to you:

“But….you’re white…”

“Yes, ma’am. True. But I think being a garbage man is right up my alley.”


“Well, ma’am. It pays well. You get to ride on the back of the truck. So….”

“Don’t you have school? Or white parents? ….or something?”

“No ma’am. Well, I have parents. I have white parents.”

“So garbage man huh? Well, you aint guaranteed a job. What you gotta do is come in in the morning. You come in at 4am, okay? You come in, and you go right over there by that fence and you wait with….everyone else….. oh boy they’ll like you…. and if they needya, they’ll pick you up.”

“Oh! Okay. Alright good to know, thanks for your help!”

“Oh boy. Welcome honey.”

And then you go home. You think long and hard about what you saw there at the garbage place. You were in fact the only white person there. Everyone looked real mean. You get nervous. You start to second guess yourself. Maybe this isn’t your dream? 4am? In the morning?! Just to ride on the back of a truck all day like a Ninja Turtle?  You set your alarm for 3:30am the next morning and you go to bed early.

When your alarm goes off in the morning you immediately jolt. You smash your Nickelodeon alarm clock until it turns off. 4am? Eff that. She was right. Im white.

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