Getting a Ph.D. in Yard Work

When I first started working at the Old Library, I was working in front of the building (more or less), so I piled the accumulated debris on Summit Street, in the grassy area between the sidewalk and the curb. When I started work, during the Christmas holidays, I tried to schedule my workdays for Tuesdays because the City picks up trash (including yard debris) on Wednesdays. After New Year’s, when my regular schedule resumed, Tuesdays were not convenient, but I also found that the debris often remained uncollected for weeks at a time, anyway. Whereas at first I had sometimes made small piles close to where I was working, now I concentrated on creating one large pile, attempting to make it so big that the City could not ignore it. Eventually it would get picked up.

As I moved around the corner to the Magnolia Avenue side, I continued, for a while, to haul debris to the Summit side because there is no space between the sidewalk and the curb on Magnolia. At some point, however, the City came and did some work on the property, including cutting down a tree, and made a large pile of debris behind the library building. So as I worked farther toward the back of the property, I started hauling debris to this inviting large pile. With occasional additions by the next-door neighbor, it reached an impressive size before finally being hauled away when the city was being spiffed up for the Arts & Crafts Festival (April 30–May 2). In fact, it got so large that it needed two photos to capture it all!

When this collection was made, I still had some small piles dotted around the area waiting to be consolidated into the large pile, so I concentrated on those for a while and, with later collections, soon accumulated another sizable pile. Here’s how it looked when I finished work Friday, May 21.

Although a large pile is impressive, it becomes more and more work to lift the tub of debris to dump it on top. One day, my last two loads were so heavy that I couldn’t lift them. I had to drag them to the pile and then just dump them at the side. As I continue to raise the pile higher and higher, I am reminded of what graduate students say about advanced degrees:

You know what B.S. stands for. That’s what’s required to get your Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The Master of Science (M.S.) degree requires more of the same. Your doctorate (Ph.D.) requires the same substance, piled higher and deeper.

Although I may be getting a Ph.D. in yard work, I wouldn’t mind at this point if the City came and picked up again!

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