I must have been around 7 or 8 years old. I had this dream of running off with the garbage men. Those guys were the coolest. Their job had a really really relaxed dress code. Back when I was kid, they rode on the back of the truck out in the open. That was the neatest way to travel. Imagine standing on the outside of a big truck as it rolled down the road. What kid wouldn’t like that?
Running off to live the free life of the garbage men was my childhood dream. Over time, my parents really got tired of me talking about it. When the big sanitation truck came rumbling into my neighborhood, I would run out to see if they’d take me with them. One day my mom figured she’d cure me of this obsession. That day the guys on the truck were known by my folks. Mom said I could run off with them and they played along with it.
I hopped on the side of the truck with the guys and we went down the road. Mom must have thought I’d freak out and be cured of my obsession. I freaked out -when the truck stopped about 100 feet later and they handed me back over to my mom.
For the time it took to travel that 100 feet my dreams had come true. Suddenly, all those dreams were dashed. It was the highest high and lowest low I’d ever experienced in my life, all within a few minutes.
I was thinking of that experience recently. Kids get some idea what a fun and interesting life would be, only to be discouraged by adults. I guess mom always wanted me to be a doctor. Oh well, that didn’t happen either.
In the end, I did get a cool job where I got to ride on the back of the truck. I became a Firefighter back in 1979. Back then Firemen still road standing on the back of the tailgate. Yes, it was the coolest way to travel.
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