Pick It Up, Pick It Up - 02.09.98

For some strange reason, I've always been accustomed to picking up pieces of paper off the ground. I know that this probably isn't one of the cleanest habits in the world, but it has led to some very interesting finds (as well as a little bit of enviromental clean-up on my part). A lot of times I'll find myself veering off course just to pick up something that caught my eye.

I'll be the first to admit that it's a bit strange, but let me try to at least partially explain my reasoning behind it. Although it isn't the big force behind it all, I feel better about myself having at least cleaned up a small piece of waste. My main motivation behind picking up discards, though, is that I might learn something about someone. Almost every piece of paper that I pick up leads back to somebody somewhere. It's definitely not a lot of scholarly knowledge, but it is interesting nonetheless.

The majority of what I pick up ends up being reciepts or other small pieces of paper like magazine inserts. Although the inserts usually make the garbage without so much as a glance, I always find myself examining reciepts for what may have been purchased. Okay, I admit that this is really boring, but my twisted sense of humour seems to find a lot to laugh about in the fact that someone payed $15.99 for a Yanni CD.

Of course, the best part of this is finding those pieces of paper so random that they become part of my collection for awhile. Just a couple weeks ago, I was walking downtown when I saw a folded-up piece of paper skirting along the ground in front of me. When I flipped it over, I saw that the words "Hey Dawg!" had been largely inscribed with a blue ball-point pen.

I opened the paper up and saw that it was a note addressed to a girl from her apparent boyfriend. I'll spare the details, but it seems that the two had met at a high-school basketball game and in the course of a half of sheet, the guy told the girl that she was "the bomb," "the shit," and "all that." The funniest part of the whole letter was that the guy had the same name as I did.

Still, the best piece of paper that I've found in awhile was sitting on the curb just in front of my car. I had just pulled into a parking spot with a meter and plunked my change in. It was a small, pink envelope and I quickly recognized it as a parking ticket. Wondering why it was laying on the ground, I picked it up and looked it over. On the front side of it, someone had written, "THE METER WAS BROKEN, SO BITE ME!" I laughed and stuck it into my pocket. It was definitely a keeper, and it wasn't going to get paid anyway.

Okay, so I lied. Actually the best paper to find is any sort of money.