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The anti-Joyce, Michael Jackson and the ‘noble thing’ …

My name and ‘early adopter’ will never be used in the same sentence.

I’ll be the last adult to use a GPS. My iPhone 5 has one but I don’t know how to work it. I play golf without the use of yardage devices. I walk to a sprinkler head to check for a number. I have never downloaded music. ‘Clueless’ accurately describes my knowledge base about all the stuff that makes life easier and more efficient or fun.

And in all the years of picking up trash I have never protected my hands with gloves. Why that is I don’t know. It is revolting, considering some of the gooey, liquidy, fetid, contaminated messes tossed to the curb and then into my bag; pop bottles and soda cups, drinking straws, plastic cigar butts, raunchy food containers, tooth floss thingies, etc. Those things have been in someone’s mouth. All are picked up with my bare hands.

You may recall a post a few weeks ago about a date gone horribly wrong after I launched into anti-litter rhetoric. ‘Joyce’ was her pseudo-name and she abruptly fled at her first opportunity. But another new friend, whom I will not call ‘Joyce II,’ takes a higher road. She supports my cause – but this delightful anti-Joyce raises the very question that has occurred to me only infrequently: Why don’t you wear gloves?

She said (I’m paraphrasing now) to not do so exposes me to all manner of yuckiness, or worse. In short order, she convinced me that gloves were a good thing. She was right so today I bought a 100 count box of opaque latex gloves for $11.

The gloves, or glove, made a debut walk this afternoon. Since the bag is clutched in my left hand I donned only one glove on my right hand as it does all the picking up. This made me somewhat self conscious. It marked me as a trash retriever; someone who saw a pre-glove bag might assume I’m simply hauling home goods from the market. But the glove is a clear sign ‘That guy is up to something.’

Actually, the glove will pull double duty: after trash is dumped out and photographed it has to be picked up a second time to be sorted and recycled.

Actually, the glove will pull double duty: after trash is dumped out and photographed it has to be picked up a second time to be sorted and recycled.

It made me feel a little like Michael Jackson. But it took no more convincing than one glance at the palm of the glove about halfway through my 2.54 mile route: the glove was stained with brown and teal tones, the residue of trash that would otherwise have been on bare skin. This was a complete revelation. I’m sold on the one-glove thing.

With 600 yards to go, a man comes toward me at a slow jog. As is my custom, I at once step aside to give them the lion’s share of the concrete and to pick up a piece of junk. Although he is clearly laboring, as he passes me he tells me “That’s a noble thing you’re doing.”

It’s the first compliment I’ve had in many moons, and now there’s a renewed spring in my step – and a glove on my hand.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

2 Comments on The anti-Joyce, Michael Jackson and the ‘noble thing’ …

  1. Bob Furstenau // August 11, 2015 at 2:03 am // Reply

    You are a piece of work…to say the least

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