I spy … a trashy problem all over our community

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005

Remember the childhood game, I Spy? In case you don’t, it went kind of like this: One person would say, "I spy something green."

Then the other players had three chances to guess the identity of the "spied upon object."

Well, that’s a little too silly for two adults to play while driving in a car (even I have limits).

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But on a recent trip to deliver some paperwork to a customer, Dave Evans, who runs our advertising department and I found ourselves making up a similar game: Roadside garbage football.

It was simple, really. Just pick a type of garbage and begin counting. The "field of play" that day was County Road 468, approximately half a mile north of U.S. 52.

I was rooting for the discarded gas tank crew while Dave was cheering for the trashy old standby: discarded tires.

In less than half a mile we had a heck of a game. It was an offensive battle. I counted 14 gas tanks cast along the short stretch of pavement. Fourteen has always been one of my favorite numbers.

That’s right, I scored two touchdowns with PATs with the obscure gas tank team.

But alas, victory was not mine that day as Dave bested me by counting up three touchdowns with PATs and one TD with a two-point conversion. That’s right, Dave "Goodyear" Evans spotted 29 of the round rubbery remnants.

OK, so we were bored, and given the speed at which I was driving, our counts may not be 100 percent accurate, but they are darned close.

But the point isn’t how poorly we can count or how lame we both are as travel companions. The fact that in less than half a mile of roadway we spotted 14 metal gas tanks and almost 30 old tires is the point.

What kind of low-life throws stuff out like this?

And, more important, what can our community do to stop that ridiculous behavior?

Now before you start, let me just say that I am not a neat freak. In fact, I’m somewhat cluttered at times. I have to work to keep things tidy. And as far as yard work? Forget it. I can’t stand it. I can almost always think of something better to do with my time: work, read, shoot guns, sleep or watch paint dry … you get the picture.

But I don’t believe I’ve ever thrown my garbage out in public. It’s just not something that crosses my mind as even a possible thought.

A fast-food bag in my car? It will stay in my car until I dispose of it properly. I’d never toss it out. So the thought of hurling out a bulky gas tank or a few extra tires is just unfathomable.

The problem is everywhere, not just on that one small stretch of roadway. The county is trashy and it reflects poorly on us all. And, it isn’t just in the county; trashies have invaded the cities, towns and villages of our community, too.

If one half mile could yield that much stuff, imagine how much refuse is lining the hundreds of miles of county roadways.

I spy a problem.

Enforcement is the only solution I can see.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441 ext. 12 or by e-mail at kevin.cooper@irontontribune.com.