You are spot on with your observations Grady. Here’s a little feather in your cap: Sometime back in the previous millennium I worked as a day laborer at a recycling business over on the Eastside somewhere. I probably could have scored that job by standing in the Builders Square (pre-Home Depot) parking lot, looking anxious and waiting for some jefe to come rolling through in a big, shiny F-350, but I had just fallen off the turnip truck and so I enlisted the services of a temp agency.
Grady, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the opportunity to be a low-skilled laborer in the employ of a temp agency, but it works something like this: They find the shittiest work available that begins at the most un-Christian hour imaginable for the lowest wages possible (and that’s before they carve out their “finder's fee”) and then act incredulous at your ingratitude when you ask for something better.
In other words, I wasn’t smart enough to stand in the parking lot at Builders Square. So, I got sent to a recycling center on the Eastside for what, in today’s dollars would probably amount to something like 23 cents an hour. For that princely remuneration I got to separate “recyclables” (which in those days amounted to bottles and cans) and place them onto a conveyor belt that eventually carried them to their next state of being: shredded.
Giving the environment the old reach-around sounds like really gratifying work until you’re actually mixing the tank beneath the composting toilet or scrubbing oily seagulls or, in this case, separating recyclables – which sounds really benign until you realize that the fluids people put back into bottles and cans is way more disgusting than their original contents. I came home that day with a very pungent bouquet.
Lesson learned, Grady. Lesson learned. I wish I had your healthy skepticism back then. That way I would have been much less likely to fall prey to unscrupulous charlatans trying to put something over on me. Fortunately, like optimism, cynicism is contagious. Maybe you can spread some around and spare all the hayseeds the embarrassment of being had.