I happened to have my driver’s license out for some reason earlier this week and, upon looking at it, was reminded that I have elected to be an organ donor. Oh my. Given the dilapidated condition of my organs, I pity anyone who is so in need of a replacement to opt for one of mine. I am doubtful as to how much further they are going to carry me, much less anyone else. They will probably end up in the trash when I am finished with them.
Speaking of trash, organ donation is akin to household recycling, with which most of us are more likely to have had some experience. Some years ago, the city provided every home in my neighborhood with a small, bright blue plastic basket with instructions to place it at the curb every other Wednesday morning filled with our carefully rinsed out cans and plastic containers. It was always interesting to take a walk around the cul-de-sac on recycle day to see what my neighbors were eating – and drinking. But I digress. Anyway, I did my part until I read in the local paper that more often than not the city couldn’t find anyone to buy the recycled materials they were so busy collecting. Thus, they simply took most of it to the landfill. For awhile there Jacksonville probably had some of the cleanest trash in Florida.
The city recently reprised its recycling program. This time, each home on my street has been issued a 95-gallon, bright blue, wheeled container with a yellow lid. We were also allocated a matching container with a blue lid for our non-recyclable trash. Our neighborhood is now festooned with all these huge vessels, which are too big to fit in one’s garage (assuming someone might actually have a car parked in there) and dwarf most of the landscape shrubbery. How attractive.
Anyway, it was also announced on the local news that the city fathers (and mothers) have contracted with a cutting-edge recycling company, which has devised a means by which to sort all the varied materials with machinery of some form rather than exclusively by humans. This is reportedly working pretty well and most of us seem to be back on board. Especially me.
Practically everything goes in that big container with the yellow lid. But I find that newspapers have become my primary contribution. Coincidentally, I have a long history of collecting newsprint. When I was a boy, a summertime activity for my brother and me was to canvas the homes in our neighborhood seeking old newspapers to recycle. Our father had suggested this undertaking when we had approached him with a desire to make some extra spending money. (I don’t recall for sure but, knowing my dad, this was probably another dodge to avoid one of our routine requests for an allowance increase. He already figured out that I wasn’t going to make any money growing strawberries during my summer vacation.) The plan was to collect all these newspapers and then, when we reached sufficient quantities, he would haul them for us to- wherever- to get some recycling money. I don’t know how many loads we may have come up with, but I remember that on at least one occasion Johnny and I had practically filled an entire room in the basement of our home from these activities. We could be found on any given hot summer afternoon pulling our little rusty Radio Flyer wagon behind us, overflowing with the fruits of our labor.
So, I now find myself back in the newspaper recycling business. I get two print editions a day, so my output is pretty good. In fact, it’s a lot better than anyone else around here. This is readily apparent when I go out in the morning to pick up my reading material and find that not one single driveway within view of mine gets the morning paper.
Well, my newspaper recycling days may be waning. We have been hearing of the demise of the newspaper industry for nearly ten years and, not surprisingly, I now find myself sometimes going to the iPad for my morning read. If the publishers would give me a financial incentive I would gladly relinquish the hard copy. Until then, perhaps, instead of opting for the big container with the yellow lid, I could donate my newspapers to someone who wants something to read while lying in a hospital bed waiting to see if my organ donation is going to take. In such case, the patient might be well advised to stick to the shorter articles.