Where did this come from? Years ago, I walked about a mile on a road in the town where I then lived. I inventoried the things I saw on the roadside. When I read the list of trash afterwards, I thought it was worth keeping. Each one of these items contains a story. Who threw it away? Or dropped it or lost it? Who rode the bike? Who stepped on the beer can to flatten it? Who drove the Coke truck from Albany, N.Y., to Massachusetts? Except for the weeds, who made each thing in the first place, and what about that worker's life? I learned the term "hurt book" when I was a bookstore clerk. It was a classification used when returning unsold books to a publisher. The owner got less credit for a damaged or shelf-worn volume. Earl Wilson was not on the baseball card. I made that up because I could not recall the player's name.
Rusty tin lids, cloth scraps, squashed cups, torn paper, a penny, pieces of metal, an old shoe, gum wrappers, cigarette butts, a roach clip, a slipper, one black rubber boot, broken pencils, rain-scarred magazine pages, crushed gold aluminum beer cans, broken brown and green glass, labels, a blue pen cap, hunks of wood, weeds, crinkled cigarette packs, empty matchbooks, tinfoil, an orange cardboard box top, screw-off caps, twist-off bottle tops, scuffed Earl Wilson baseball card, flat juice carton, smashed red bike reflector, corroded tail pipe, Styrofoam coffee cup, plastic six-pack holders, clear beer bottles, a hurt book, soft drink cans (Tab, Sprite, 7-Up, Diet Pepsi, Fresca, Mountain Dew), empty milk cartons, bits of sticky black electrical tape, a 6.5 ounce Coke bottle from Albany N.Y., red-and-white striped plastic straws, a temperature control knob printed Hot Warm Normal.