When Litter Makes You Happy


My next door neighbor, Randy, is an awesome guy.  Sunday morning, while picking up my paper from the end of the driveway, I spotted him unloading groceries.  We waved, then he came over to chat for a minute and we both noticed an empty beer can in his front yard.

This is not a common occurrence in our neighborhood (whereas it was an everyday fact of life when I lived in super-hip West Hollywood), so I said, “I hate that.  What is wrong with people?”  To which Randy laughed, “Oh well, money for me. And it makes me happy to keep the neighborhood clean.”

Here’s the thing – Randy doesn’t recycle for money.  He put that can in the recycling bin and will put it on the curb this week like every other week and never see the nickel that can is worth at the recycling center.

But that doesn’t matter at all.  He saw an upside in something that most people (me included) see as only negative, and whether that was a reality or just the idea of an upside, it still made his response cheery – to himself and to me.

So now, I have a new happiness model to emulate.  What’s the upside?  If I can tell myself what it is, whether that’s how it plays out or not, then I can find happiness in most situations.

Thanks, Randy!