Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Review: The Law of the Garbage Truck (2010)

Note: This post will contain NO commas. Take that grammar! <--see what I did there?

About a month ago I was promised a book -- The 19th Wife -- prompting Boyfriend to wonder what happened to the other 18. Father in his infinite wisdom decided that what I really needed was another book -- one that spoke to the crushing agonies of my soul. So he also sent me The Law of the Garbage Truck by David Pollay who used to be a manager and stuff and even worked at Yahoo! as head of customer care and then later as something else. It's all very specific. I ended up reading Garbage Truck because many chapters could be crushed under my mental wheels whilst I spooned up my yogurt-blueberry-almonds breakfast concoction. I typically rebel against self-help books especially the patronizing ones but Dave seems pretty sincere and his reasoning is not as laughable as say Malcolm Gladwell (who said something so moronic about writing in What the Dog Saw that I snapped the book shut and never picked it up again).

Basically The Law of the Garbage Truck says you shouldn't be a garbage truck -- don't dump your crap on others -- and that when other people are garbage trucks just be cool about it. I really like the examples he uses like when his dad cut off another driver who then challenged him to a duel in a parking lot and then when the guy got out of his tiny car he looked like the Hulk and Dave's dad backed the eff up. He just kept apologizing to the guy until he went away and ever since then he's apparently been a nice driver. (Sadly not all of us have giant adversaries to remind us that being grouchy isn't worth the trouble.) Another good example is when Dave and his kids waited in line without complaining while a Blockbuster (I know right! Blockbuster! WTF!) employee dealt with a difficult customer (a Garbage Truck!) and then later the lady repaid his good behavior with super excellent customer service or something.

And really I think this stuff works because no one wants to think of themselves as a garbage truck taking dumps on others except possibly fetishists and I am far too wholesome to even understand that reference. It's a strong mental image: a large vehicle lumbering around with smelly unpleasant things that you definitely hope will never see the light of day. Which reminds me of a quote by Tommy Lee Jone's character in Captain Americ-abs: "If you have an opinion now is a good time to keep it to yourself." Amen sir. Dave would say "If you have negativity to spew think long and hard about whether or not it's worth it to actually spew."

Speaking of negativity I really like the term "negative energizer" -- not the science kind that is used to power foot massagers in Japan but someone who is critical and inflexible and not fun to be around. I'm very lucky in that in my life I have only encountered one such individual who is like this. I would totally share but I am being a non-garbage truck so I will just be totally cool about it.

So anyway this blog post is getting pretty long and it's starting to sound like The Catcher in the Rye -- excuse the conceit -- so I'll end it here. Probably in my next post I'll see what happens when I don't use apostrophes. Dun dun DUUUNNNNNNNN!!!