Thursday, April 4, 2013

She Certainly Can... CanCan! Part I

I remember 'canning' or 'trolling for the nickel deposit on empty bottles and cans' for cigarette and vodka money during a rather 'odd' time in my life. Though I'm sure most people would rather omit this particular adventure from their memory, I choose to reserve a spot in my heart for it in the 'you-can-find-funny-anywhere-you-look-once-you-set-your-mind-to-it', but that's entirely different subject fodder.

Life is something that should be embraced in it's entirety, and if you've never been down and out? You simply haven't lived enough. If you've never been down and out and are now NOT currently down and out? You simply don't know if you can overcome enough, do you? I did, I laughed then, and I'm hoping we can all share a common thread of humor about it now. See what happens when you take criticizing yourself to a whole new creative level? 'Redemption' ensues... "Worst Pun... EVER!"

Three of us had paired together to form the 'Canning Team' that would redefine the entire scope of the task. From the attitude's of the people who did it singularly to the non-suspecting homeowner's who would ultimately rethink where to stash their bags of recyclable's, in a matter of weeks no one would be simply parking their cans under their back porches or balcony's. We were clever. We were thorough. We were tenacious. Frankly speaking? We were thirsty, nicotine addicted, and a bit selfish at the time. The money was there, it was nearly a 'victim-less crime', and there were so many other people doing the legal version of the same task it was nearly impossible to be caught, let alone prosecuted. If you have a modicum of pride you'll understand in our twisted way that 'working' for money  is still more respectable than holding a sign at a red light that says 'Will Drink For Food'.

Corny names detract from the story, and I'm not clever enough to conjur psuedonyms that are realistic sounding, so we'll reduce them to abbreviations and then to animals, shall we?

'R.M.' was the 'Scout'. His task during the sunlight hours was to roam the neighborhoods peering over fences and in general being on the lookout for bags under porches, stacked in backyards, or sheds that were either unlocked or had flimsy locks with plastic bags contained. The deduction was simple. If  'trash pickup day' had passed and these bags weren't picked up? There's a 75% chance that someone was 
saving their recyclable's until they had an amount that justified a trip to the recycling center. There was a chance they had compost, leaves or debris, but that chance was slim and we had all nite to follow up on locations that were worthy of a thorough search.

'B.Y.' was the 'Raccoon'. His task during the night hours were to lurk into the aforementioned yards, assess the risk in a sad equation format (movement sensitive lighting) + (proximity to the house) + (amount of loot) was combined with our (necessity and talent) + (how daring we were on that 
particular night) = SCORE. If the chance of reward was equal or greater than our likeliness to be caught? In a nod it was decided that it was a 'done deal' or just a 'pass by' until the reward grew or the risk lessened to acceptable levels. Even homeless alcoholics don't wontonly relinquish their freedom when three dollars of loud glass bottles could ruin your future plans to marginally exist within the confines of the few creature comforts you were afforded.

'B.L.' was the 'Ox'. It's not only important to have a brawny guy who can push a shopping cart full of recyclable aluminum for miles; You also need someone who can affix plastic bags in a 'tetris like' manner to every available surface of said cart in a timely manner and who will NOT abandon the cart or group when 'capture' becomes a distinct possibility. 

Every great equation comes equipped with a 'variable'. Our's was simply the fact that even if we were caught, most times not only were people not prepared for a prowler, but the sheer fact that in the middle of the night finding three physically imposing, stereotypical appearing  creepy 'homeless ogres' would in general cause whomever discovered us to a quick retreat back to safety.

Initially we weren't reduced to flaunting our 'physical powers of persuasion', but in a timely manner we learned it was to our advantage. In the time someone hastily returns to their indoors and calls 911, it's possible for three guys to not only stash the loot but change or remove identifying clothing, and break into three separate character's melding into the surroundings. 'Playing dumb' came naturally to most of us and was mastered by the remaining members. 

I know it doesn't sound funny yet, but all great stories require some background. All you have to do now is inject the <impossible to ignore> Stooge like qualities of the characters and situations and this poor allegory turns into an humorous anecdote. 

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