A couple of years ago I used to watch these two old Mexican women picking cans and bottles out of the trash around my neighborhood. They went about it relentlessly for several hours each day…around five days a week…doing what it took to put food on the table. I realized I literally have what they work so hard for handed to me across the bar every time I work. I imagined what they would do in my position and have recycled from my bar since. I place a couple of boxes under the bar at the beginning of my shift and fill them up as the night progresses…carry them out to my truck when we close…stack them on my patio…load them all back into my truck at the end of the week…drive to the recycling center…unload the trash…and finally collect under ten dollars. It’s an arduous and dirty process to make a few bucks. My fellow employees think my habitual recycling is downright hilarious and have appointed me with various nicknames…Can Man, Sanford, 401Can Plan, etc. They can’t figure out why I go through the trouble. So tonight..Steve called in sick leaving me to fend for myself on a busy saturday night. I got absolutely crushed over the next eight hours…full throttle the entire time. I didn’t have a chance to take a piss, nibble on food in the back, or even take a sip of water. It took another two hours after last call…still moving at top speed..to clean, restock, order, and do the paperwork. I finally closed the bar around 3am and trudged out to my truck carrying two liquor boxes full of empty bottles and cans on my shoulder. Leftover warm drops of beer…and undoubtably random people’s saliva…slowly ran down my back. I thought to myself how much my coworkers would enjoy seeing this. They can go fuck themselves. The environment isn’t laughing. I do it because years ago two old Mexican ladies seeking out an income five cents at time showed me the true value of the beer I serve. It is a lesson in humility.
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