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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 (260 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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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