The Art of Garbology October 06 2019
I used to be embarrassed to talk about this as a kid. It was only recently that I have shared the stories of what my father refers to as ‘Garbology.’
My dad was a school teacher for 34 years. He was also a professor…a professor of ‘Garbology.’
“What the hell is ‘Garbology’ you ask?” Simple. Trash picking.
As a kid we didn’t make many trips to Toys R’ Us. When it was time for a new bike or the potential for new toys, we often headed to the Commonwealth of Newton where all the rich folks lived.
They threw away the best shit.
Monday was trash day, which meant on Sunday night at dusk we would cruise the neighborhood as if we were living out our own ‘Mission Impossible.’ My brothers and I would dress in all black (my father, of course, wearing his scally cap), jump in the back of my father’s Chevy Scottsdale and strategize an elaborate plan for the night ahead.
Another man’s trash was in fact our treasure. It was our first bike, a set of golf clubs and an air hockey table less 5 or 6 players—and no puck. My father had a keen eye for these “treasures” and a true talent for seeing passed the dings, dents and scratches. Bike missing a wheel? No problem. Golf club too long? Cut it down. Table with scratches? Nothing a little sand paper and stain can’t repair.
During that time, my two older brothers and I never told our friends how we got our “new” bike or where that antique coffee table came from. We didn’t really think much of it. We looked forward to those Sunday nights after dinner, sneaking around and rummaging through people’s trash before they turned their lights on. My father was an excellent ‘getaway’ driver and the rush of adrenaline we felt during these adventures money couldn’t buy. It was literally priceless.
It humbles me today to think back on those times.
My father recently bought my oldest son his first bike. It was shiny, new and still had the tag on it…but it wasn’t the same. It has both tires the same color, handle bars with grips and a padded seat. I realized while looking at this new bike that life is all about perspective. We didn’t see the flaws in our bikes—we thought we had it all—it might as well have been new.
We try to promote our business in a way so that our fans and customers can see that. It is too often that brands promote themselves as flawless. That is bullshit.
It’s the dings, dents and scratches that make our brand what we’re all about.
P.S. If you need any tips on ‘Garbology’ feel free to send us a note…or if you have an old bike you’re not using—put a “FREE” sign on it. You’ll make a 6-year old kid happy as a pig in shit. Trust me.