Each year in the Smallish City there is one day, and one day only, when you can dispose of Big Trash. “Big” here means anything larger than an average kitchen trash can—so, TV’s, old appliances, mattresses, large pieces of bad art, bodies, etc. all get stored up throughout the year and vomited onto the sidewalk in one great communal purge.
Of course, there’s a certain amount of scrounging and looting that goes on. This year I didn’t have much to dispose of, but a chair I put out disappeared within an hour. I also tossed a defunct computer printer, a turntable, and, with remorse, at last, the remains of my LP collection. Well, almost all the remains. Some I just couldn’t part with. Here’s what I kept, and why:For the album art that is imprinted on my brain:
Asbury Park (Springsteen), Banana Album (Velvet Underground), American Beauty (Dead), Abbey Road, Untitled (aka Zofo or Led Zeppelin IV), Dark Side of the Moon.
-Because they are close to original pressings:
Beatles ’65, Sgt. Pepper’s, Yellow Submarine, Revolver
-For the liner notes:
Harvest (Neil Young), London Calling
-For the indelible effect on my youth:
-For the actual working zipper on the cover: Sticky Fingers (Stones)
-Because I borrowed them from my parents at least a decade ago, and should return them:
Strangers in the Night (Sinatra), Jazz Sur Seine (Percy Heath et. Al.), Bert & I, and Other Stories From Down East.
Tonight, after the big dump trucks had come and gone, a neighbor pounded on my door. He looked irritated. He held up a shipping label with my name and address, written in the hand of TurboMom, which must’ve been on the box holding the LP’s. He related that an enormous pile of plain-old, non-Big-Trash-eligible garbage was extant on the corner by his house, he was about to call the city to report it, he had found THIS in the pile, and did I have anything to say for myself? For the similarity to Alice’s Restaurant
I cracked up laughing. I almost said it out loud: “Yes sir, officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie—I put that address label under that garbage.” But Mr. Neighbor, who, by the way, often “entertains” the entire neighborhood by playing the accordion in his front yard, was not amused. “Just didn’t want you to be blindsided,” he said. “They give out pretty hefty tickets.”
I went down the lane to investigate for myself, and saw that there was, indeed, a huge pile of illegal refuse—none of it mine, with the exception of one cardboard box (someone had taken the LP’s). We’ll see what happens next. If they put me in the Smallish City jail, I do hope they forget to remove the toilet paper—because I’d just love to “bend the bars, roll the toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape.”