I used to think when I graduated college and got a really job that wasn't as a janitor, I'd finally be able to stop eating donuts from the garbage.
I was wrong.
As I look back at my life, I'm a little concerned to discover that most of my difficult moral questions have come from deciding when eating food out of a garbage can in an office somewhere was stealing and when I was morally justified in taking it.
You would probably be really concerned to discover how rarely I've considered whether or not eating such food was sanitary.
I'm not exaggerating though, I really used to spend a lot of time staring into garbage cans wondering if I was allowed – morally – to eat that last couple pieces of cake with so much frosting that no one wanted them.
I even looked to the Bible for guidance, but it didn't help. For a book supposed to have all the answers, it was strangely vague on the moral standing of dumpster divers.
I'm not one hundred percent sure on that though, I didn't check in the front part. I never read those chapters because I'm always afraid I'll find something I really like will send me to Hell.
If it turns out that double dipping in the salsa is a sin, I want to be able to plead ignorance.
These quandaries were pretty common for me too. Until my wife forbade me, I earned most of my income from various positions as a janitor. I enjoyed it. It was honest work, but simple and the only one that rewarded me for not being squeamish at the site of vomit.
The best part about being a janitor was those special occasion when I would find a treat, stashed away somewhere just for me.
I used to wonder if the people who worked in the office new what I was up to. I think some of them thought it was interesting, and would set up mazed of garbage for me to dig through like a lab rat through a maze, only instead of cheese, I got a slice of cold pizza.
Other employees, however, considered be a pest and would tied their food up in the tree, to keep me out.
Some times I have to team up with a bear to get at it.
Don't think I would just root around in the break room garbage like some kind of raccoon with a mop (the best stuff was always in the conference rooms), I did have standards: I'd only eat stuff that was separated from the “real” garbage by a box or bag.
Or if I was really hungry, a memo.
When I stopped janitating (the verb form of janitor for those of you still learning English) and got a real job in the other side of an office (the side that doesn't clean the toilet) I thought that the good times were over and I'd have to start paying for all my meals.
In truth however, things have gotten better, because now, as a full-time employee, I have access to the garbage long before the janitor even get there. It's like a dream come true.
I no longer wish I could be invited to meetings where they have donuts – one of which there was today – I just wait until the meeting finishes, the table is cleared and the lights are turned off. Then it's mine time to shine.
I really don't care anymore, it's a free donut.