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Thursday, March 30, 2006

1-800-GOT-JUNK?

My life in Middle Tennesee revolved around a bright, shiny, blue dump truck. Fresh out of college and needing to earn a few bucks, I immediately jumped into the anxious-stepping work force of this spinning, mad world. The company 1-800-GOT-JUNK? opened its maternal arms towards me and like a natural babe, I bore my finiancial hungry face to its sheltering breast. (I love talking in such a way). And I planned on being kept in this embrace until I could walk on my own. So with Wal-Mart work boots, a pair of blue dickies, and a uniformed 1-800-GOT-JUNK shirt and cap I hit the highways, intersections, and suburban gravel of the Nashville area maning a bright, shiny, blue dump truck.

We were a junk removal service and would be happy to pick up anything for an astronomical fee. If you needed an attic, a basement, a yard, etc. cleaned out, we were the proud few who could tackle the clutter, the trash, the undesireable stuff that accumulates and expands in every space, we Americans occupy. It's certainly a sign of wasted affluence in our times when folks will pay up to $438 to cart away the possessions that are just laying around in the way. We all have too much junk in our lives amassed through years of pointless grappling. You turn your head around a corner in you life and its there blocking up the doorways, concealing all the windows, chasing away any visitors all because we obsess to possess. Americans have a great desire for space, not so they can feel the grandness of that space but because we want to tame, bound, and leash that space and call it our own.
We grab on to anything tangible, however trivial, however fleeting and we dare to attach our identity towards these, deeming them a part of ourselves. Let us let go of the object, the subject, the insult, the pain, the trivialities, the superficialities and all this worrisome stuff that chokes the space from our homes, offices, relationships, and free-beating hearts.

Pardon, I digress into philosophic discourse. Back to my story. So I had this job. A nifty idea for a business, for we were not just your typical Sanford and Son. Oh no, we were a uniformed group of friendly marketeable young future entrepeneurs who were all striving to get rid of the great amount of junk in this world so that we could accumulate our own. Our team was a good, wholesome group. Our fearless leader and bossman was a nice, rather large man who believed in Joseph Smith. During our weekly meetings at Krispy Kreme, with Velcro shoes and company paraphenalia, he would inject business enthusiasm into our lethargic veins like a plastic-gloved doctor with a needle. And off we would go to suburbia America to see how many truck loads we could fill up of discarded objects. If we saw anything we liked, it was ours; we just had to call dibs before anyone else.

Under our Mormon boss, Mckay, was his right hand man Tom. Tom had served in Iraq. Had tried to get into the Christian music scene in Nashville and had almost made it. -But the agent who was to sign his band the deal died in a freak accident almost the day before. So Tom was working at 1-800-GOT JUNK. He was a professional in all aspects. Next was Caleb, a stout, young man who had bounced around from random job to random job during these obscure college years and now had found the perfect college job. Then there was my partner, Alex. Alex was from Puerto Rico, was 29, married, and had a baby on the way. I was appointed as driver and he was appointed as navigator, when he was a better driver, and I could read a map blindfolded better than he. But for some reason the roles fell as they did. So naturally tempers flared back and forth. But for the most part we got along wonderfully well. I've never been in many situations where you blow up about something but then after only 30 minutes of complete silence in the truck, you are talking and joking again. Such were my times at 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

Our clients were mostly well to do, the type of people who were more than happy to pay $88 to haul off one couch. -That was our price. That's why we considered ourselves not just your ordinary junk removal service. Yes indeed, we were the elite of all trash collectors. Glorified garbage men, we were, that actually walked inside the house, and with a salesman smile, and a delightful twinkle of the eye, disposed of all unwanted possessions. Unless, of course, we were never called. Which was not all that seldom. Many hours passed where we were hardly called to move even a recliner or a TV. Our duties were then shifted into the marketing realm.

Marketing, at first, seemed to be just riding around in our bright shiny blue dump truck. As a novice in the concept of marketing, I failed to see how just "riding around" was vital. Other marketing strategies ranged from terrorizing ritzy neighborhoods with copious doorhangers to attacking the loaded parking lots of Home Depots and Targets with sticky notes (I got so well and sneaky at this that I could place a sticky note on their car while they were inside sleeping or while they were around the pack placing their bags in the trunk.) Then there was our signature marketing ploy. We called them "waves". We would drive to a busy street, make sure our beloved trucks were parked in an easy-to-spot space, then stand beside the trucks holding signs with our company's name on them while wearing blue wigs and smiling and waving at all the mostly apathetic drivers that zoomed by.
This was my job that I was attached to for the past couple of months. And I have to admit that my favorite part of the whole job was when we had to "break" furniture in order to cram them into an already full truck. From bookshelves to office desks to dining chairs, I could tear them apart into wooden splinters. Perhaps, not even such random barbaric acts could not keep still my wild spirit...nevertheless I indulged in them at the time, but now...I decided to leave behind that bright, shiny blue dump truck and leave behind Nashville and anything that's associated with it (except the occassional sad country song) and go west towards change, towards growth, towards other things that I believe God has in store for me.

6 Comments:

Anonymous will said...

where are you moving? i'm trying to get a job in boulder co.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

Will, I'm not moving anywhere permanently...I'm gonna do a little wandering. You'll see. I would've came by your place but it was too far north of my original destination. So what do you plan on doing in Colorado?

9:00 PM  
Blogger Jovan said...

May God bless your travels buddy.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous fox said...

Glad to see your loving life.

http://www.myspace.com/aquirkyaura

11:25 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Dang it Brian, if only wandering counted as a summer internship. I'm trying to get a job playing frisbee. I'm not kidding.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

fox...glad to hear from you again. I hope everything is going well.

jovan...Thanks,I'll see you in the not too distant future, maybe we'll visit Cuba then.

will...a professional frisbee player...I always knew that was your calling. -That and maybe one day owning the world's largest aquarium.

9:08 PM  

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