You couldn’t really call it an unrequited passion. Not done with enough regularity to be considered a hobby. No longer is it a necessity for earning a few extra bucks just to get by. Let’s just say it’s something that holds a fond interest when the opportunity arises.

Perhaps it was watching my father dive, on the rare occasion he did such, which initially sparked my interest. Skillfully plunging in with purpose and oft coming away the victor. A new bicycle and on one occasion a pogo-stick came my way as prizes won for his endeavors. And yet to dive was forbidden. It was an act that was considered dangerous and looked down upon. But how could one deny the outcome? Always, if not profitable, at least beneficial to some degree… yet it was frowned upon. Forever forbidden!

So when the chance arose diving was done in secret. Honing skills and gaining respect for the art because it would only be a matter of time…before driving. Driving meant diving. Or at least being able to freely travel to a place where it was possible to do so. Most kids got their license and headed for a friend’s house or cruised the mall. One of my first outings was the closest place to dive and upon finding an open dumpster I dove in feet first- never looking back…except to watch out for the cops… who might run me off.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Dumpster diving is not illegal in most places but trespassing is. The act of digging through garbage and taking out the good stuff is not typically illegal in the USA but if the dumpster is on private property you may have to “trespass” to get to it.

Many people look down upon dumpster diving and roadside scavenging. A lot of this is due in part to misconception. They picture a “diver” as someone who literally dives into a dumpster, stands knee deep in reeking garbage, ripping open bags and digging through refuse. This occasionally may be the case for the downtrodden, destitute and desperate, not so much for divers.

Rarely does a diver wholly enter a dumpster. In most cases a dive consists of peering over the top or in the hatch. If an item worth salvaging is visible it’s carefully drug out to be cleaned, repaired, refurbished, recycled and reused. But isn’t that disgusting­—digging through and taking someone else’s trash? First of all, there’s usually not much “digging,” just peeking and taking. Second, just because someone doesn’t want something or take the time to donate it and throws it away doesn’t make it trash.

Hammers, screwdrivers + wrenches (individuals and complete sets), tool boxes, boxed tools, ladders, flashlights, floodlights, streetlights, shovels, hacksaws, handsaws, two-man bow saws (no chainsaws) old broomsticks (think closet rods and landscaping stakes), two shopping carts (best and obvious way to get groceries from the car to the back door), and an ax, all still in use. Books, bookshelves, lawn chairs, beach chairs, kitchen tables w/chairs, coffee tables, foosball tables (ball missing), one full sized pool table (with 2½ sets of balls and four cues). Puppies, kittens, baby birds, ducks (one decoy, two rubber) and a small raccoon. Warning: do not attempt to rescue small raccoons from dumpsters. They don’t want your help and will f*** you up right proper. (Editor’s note: Also, raccoons can carry rabies, and rabies in this county has become rather common in wild animals.)

Small raccoons aside, all these items and more have been salvaged, resurrected, recycled, put to use, sold or, in most cases, given to those less fortunate­—homeless folks enjoy playing pool too. People have a strange perception that once something is “thrown away” it enters some alternate dimension of contamination. Considering the condition of our world, wouldn’t that be the same dimension/different position? In the grand scheme of things we scavengers preform a service to the planet that those who are afraid to get their hands dirty aren’t willing to perform. Every item we rescue is one less to end up slowly rotting away in a landfill, polluting the environment and contaminating our world.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or email me at [email protected] or you can FRIEND me on Facebook under Saw’s Brood!

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!