Sunday, August 8, 2010


One of the great mysteries that swamp the Eternal Optimist's small mind every so often is the question of the stray beer bottles and cans he finds on his morning walk. EO lives in a residential area in a smallish city, and walks down to a coffee shop in the morning to retrieve his extra-special powerful brand of coffee. It's a destination, it's a reward, and it helps limber up EO's cranky back.

I tend to pick up a few of the more obvious beer cans and bottles along the way. I carry the garbage a block or two and put it in a trash can. Every time I bend over (and with the cranky back every bend is a vivid memory) I think "is there something hard about throwing your garbage in a trash can?"

I've been thinking about this, casually, for months. The only answer I could think of is that for some people - apparently a lot of people - holding onto your beer until you get to a trash can involves too much planning and commitment.

I wonder if they drop beer cans around the house?

Possible answer. Good husband material, eh?
Photo credit.

Maybe dropping your beer can where you stand is part of the pleasure.

The other day I found a couple of beer cans about 10 feet from a big green steel public trash can. The kind that has been standing there, immutable, since Coolidge was President. Apparently it was just too hard to take the 3 paces over to the trash can.

And then, a light came on. Maybe Mr. Beer-Can-Man just tossed his refuse out of a car in the general direction of the Coolidge era trash can?

I am guessing the folks that leave half empty beer cans for me are not much into walking. And the air conditioning in their cars probably doesn't work so well, either. So the windows are open. And hell, metal is biodegradable, isn't it? Eventually? And their aim is probably none too good, what with the 12-pack they just chugged.

Plus, there's the whole "crime" thing. The frat boy drinking Heineken in the car solves the evidence problem by tossing his beer out the window. This gives the cranky old guy a reason to bend over in the morning, a kind of Tai Chi with enhanced eco-sensitivity.

All parties benefit from these behaviors in a strange, symbiotic circle of life.

The "beer in the car" theory has satisfied my inquiring mind. I can rest easy now.

Teen driving car, drinking beer. Cranky old man's symbiotic partner.
Photo credit.


  1. The Old Gray TrainerAugust 9, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    Ahhh, I remember now...the old cranky back. But, I do recall quite a remarkable bit of improvement that old back recaptured when it trained!!! (And, I was extremely impressed). As the Four Seasons passed, so did the degree of difficulty of the torturous routines the Old Gray Trainer put the cranky back through. It adjusted admirably.

    That is except for the one dreaded event that no one ever, EVER masters…(drum roll please) the sheer agony of the quad-busting, hamstring burning and glycogen depleting ROPE PULL. Oooohhh…me get shivers just thinking about it!

    However…I do believe that there was a small part of Mrs. EO that enjoyed the rope pull, (or, maybe it was the happiness she got from watching EO do it!).

    So, when EO bends down to pick up a discarded beer can, he can revel and find comfort in the memory of how he is still able to do it!

  2. So true, so true. Today EO said "thank God" as his back twanged when he bent over to pick up a beer can. Not so bad if back twangs cause prayer.

  3. Some would say the Eternal Optimist needs more work to keep him occupied!

  4. I have watched beer cans come flying out of car windows from people who believe that "the world is my trash can".

  5. Fascinating. Maybe they are aliens from another galaxy and the world really is their trash can.