Spring Cleanup GJ’s chance to kick it to the curb

It’s trash week here in GJ. Officially the city calls it “The Annual Spring Cleanup.” That’s because “Drag That Hideous, Old Broken Lazy-Boy With the Questionable Stains to the Curb” was already taken.

It’s a time when citizens get rid of things they no longer want or need, like dressers, old appliances or husbands.

According to the city’s website, the two-week event started in the early 1990s. Originally it was called the “Fresh As a Daisy” program. City officials, however, changed the name after some citizens mistook it as a government program to provide low-income women with free, feminine hygiene products.

Now it’s very popular. The basics are as follows: Residents set out trash and large items for disposal on their curb for the city to pick up free of charge. Those of you on the Redlands can use this occasion to toss out that 52-inch, flat-screen plasma in perfect working condition (seeing as how it is over 5 months old), while those of you in certain sections of downtown can dispose of your used heroin syringes.

The important thing is that it’s a nice gesture on the part of the city. Not only is it a free service for all residents, it’s another way to honor our returning Iraq war veterans by giving a welcoming reminder of the sights and smells of Fallujah.

That’s because each April, our trash-strewn curbs make our streets resemble those of scary, dangerous, third world areas. And here I’m talking about places like Beirut, or Kabul, Afghanistan, or Detroit.

During Spring Cleanup, residents typically fall into one of two categories:

(A) People who have apparently gutted their entire house, their neighbor’s house, chopped down a forest, imported all the trash from Hurricane Katrina, and placed it out front.


(B) The people who don’t have anything to throw away, but who want to get their tax dollars’ worth, so they’ll put out, maybe, one empty soup can. Even this will only stay there for about 20 minutes before somebody in a rusted 1978 Ford pickup stops to pick it up.

I happen to put a lot out on the curb, but it’s always a battle with my wife. I’m pretty much happy with just a TV and refrigerator in the house, whereas she thinks the people on the TV show “Hoarders” are minimalists.

For example: During Spring Cleanup a few years back, I cleaned out the attic in my garage and found a leftover 1970s-era footlocker painted in a variety of hideous colors and designs. Some people thought it was cool, whereas those of us who did not have any traces of marijuana in our bloodstream considered it to be the ugliest thing ever created. It would burn your retina to look at it. Rosie O’Donnell in a string bikini is more visually appealing.

Marie wanted to refurbish it. This, of course, meant I had to sneak behind her back and take it out to the curb, hoping she would forget about it. It was like cheating on her, only instead of sleeping with a hot cocktail waitress, I dragged a large, heavy box across the grass.

After seeing it out front the next day, she made me haul it back to the garage. This means I occasionally have to (true story) sneak down the street to drop off an item at someone else’s curb. And if those of you who drive around picking up stuff left out think you get strange looks, you should see the glares when a homeowner sees you DUMPING trash out in front of their house.

As for the ugly box? We can’t seem to find it now. I don’t know if it was stolen or what.

All I know is that if you happen to see a giant, ugly footlocker in front of your house, it wasn’t me.

Reach Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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