Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Free Books at the Dump

The Wife has already written of our stay-at-home vacation with its trip to the dump and a couple of treasures she brought home.  She left it to me, however, to share this shelf of western culture, left together in one cardboard box for whatever fellows might come along and find it.

Granted, there was a lot more in the box--dated textbooks and such, not to mention the shelves and shelves of mass-market paperbacks which line the entire back wall of the dump's swap-shack, as if, their entertainment value drained, their sole function from this point forward was to provide insulation.  But one can't love and cherish every piece of garbage one comes across, can one?

There is always the risk of coming home from the dump with more than we leave there, an occurrence which rather defeats the entire purpose of the voyage.  We've scored bicycles, rocking chairs, windows and doors at the dump.  We've put most of it to good use, but sometimes storage is a problem.

However, yesterday we discarded a broken koi-pond liner, a metal outdoor fireplace rusted to the thickness of newspaper, several pounds of rusty chicken wire, and a leaky chicken-watering can.  This completed the yard cleanup that started off the vacation, and left the backyard looking the tidiest it has since we moved back here, almost a year ago.  There was little chance of returning with a bigger haul than that.

We also threw out a 40-pound, 19" Sony Trinitron CRT monitor.  This it pained me to part with, since this screen has loyally displayed the machinations of various PCs for the past decade, and despite its bulk it still boasted a generous resolution.  It seemed we should have been able to make something of it, like building an old-school television cabinet for it and mounting it inside with a basic internet-connected media PC.  But something had gone wrong with its insides, and it displayed its colors washed out, interrupted by a series of sharp diagonal lines.  The dump charges $25 to take your old CRTs, but when we renewed our dump sticker they provided us two coupons to cover disposal "hazardous items," which seemed fair to me.  So there it is, ready, for the municipality to bundle and pack and process and reap the bounty of its five-to-fifteen pounds of lead*.  Here's hoping they don't up and ship it off to Africa or China.

So, having unloaded an entire station wagon, it didn't seem too bad to come home with this shelf.  Let's see: Maugham, Melville, Tolstoi, Fielding, Cooper, Whittier, Trollope, an anthology of stories and another of poetry, discussions of Victorian Literature, and a song-book for The Wife and friends to crack open around the campfire.  All stuff I'm actually bound to read, sooner or later.

Not too bad a reward for cleaning up the yard.

*  Here's something I didn't know: one the reasons CRT Monitors and TVs contain so much lead in their glass is to shield their viewers from the radiation being streamed at their eyeballs.  This is where I could get all snobby about how smart I've been not to watch TV over the years.  But if you pointed out how many hours I've spent staring at computer screens and video games, you'd wipe that smarmy smile right off my face.


  1. Now that's recycling at its best!

  2. Ooh! Ooh! "Discussions on Victorian Literature!" Ooh!
    Words escape me.