White Trash in My Yard

I’ve always disliked the term “white trash”, not just because it insults a white person, but because it also insults non-white people. I’m not sure exactly why, but to me the term carries a subtle implication that all black people are trash, and only some white people are trash.

Of course, I’m uncomfortable calling any person “trash” – no matter what their skin color – as we were all created with equal value. Somewhat less offensive is the term “trashy people”. By describing them instead of naming them, we refer to the type of person they have become, rather than labeling their very being. I suppose to be precise, I could use the adverb form of the word – describing their behavior instead of their person – and call them “people living trashily”. But that just sounds silly, so generally I simply avoid using the word trash when referring to humans.

That said, I have several choice names for those people who throw actual trash into my yard. “Idiot” comes to mind, but “Loser” is probably more accurate. I say this because a disproportionate percentage of the debris found on my front lawn is lottery related. We live on Main Street and are amazed at how many people apparently just throw their garbage out the car window. Fast food bags are popular, as are beer cans and cigarette butts, but losing scratch-off cards are the clear winner. We live about a half mile from a convenience store, so I guess that’s just far enough for some upstanding citizen to figure out that he’s a loser and then throw the offending card out the window onto my grass.

It’s telling that most of the trash I find in the yard is related to behaviors that are financially and physically unhealthy. I rarely have to pick up empty yogurt containers, completed Mensa puzzle books, or old copies of the Wall Street Journal. No, the trash in my yard comes from … well, losers.


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