Immaculate Receptacle

Christmas is a season for miracles, and I’m a simple guy, so my miracle expectations are pretty low on the scale of grandeur. And don’t get me wrong — by no means am I comparing my miracle to anything religious. That’s because my miracle has to do with a garbage can.

That’s right, a garbage can, or a City and County trash receptacle, to be exact.

Years ago, when the city issued trash receptacles for our weekly garbage pickup, I was kind of elated, as those, plus the recycling receptacles, were clean, sturdy, uniform containers. I got rid of our ugly, dirty garbage cans with ill-fitting lids and no rollaway wheels.

As the guy responsible for taking out the trash every week, this was a big deal. But over years of use, my new trash can got pretty filthy and was significantly damaged by all the mechanical truck handling. I just lived with it, not knowing that I could get it replaced.

Then, recently, my kid brother told me that I could call and the city would replace my receptacle. They told me to leave it out on trash-collection day, and a crew would come by to switch it out with a new one.

Wow, that was like getting a gift on Christmas morning. All day at work I was pretty excited knowing that, when I got home, I would have a new trash receptacle.

As I drove up to my garage that evening and my headlights hit that dark-gray container, my heart skipped a beat.

For that entire first week, I was careful to make sure our garbage bags were tied tight so as not to have any leakage. Anything bulky I wrapped in newspapers and then covered in plastic, as I didn’t want to soil my new baby.

Then, one evening, I was standing near the garage, where we keep the receptacle, when my wife and daughter came home.

They got out of the car with handfuls of loose garbage, coffee cups and fast-food wrappers. They headed straight to the receptacle and were about to dump it in, when I yelled out, “What the heck are you doing? Don’t you dare throw that in there!”

I continued: “Don’t throw trash in my garbage can!” Baffled, they both looked at me and my wife uttered, “You’re insane.”