Trash this column

Sign Up For Our FREE Daily eNews!


Timely Writer e1646366182602

Wise men and Elvis have long maintained that only fools rush in. The rest of us should pause for a moment before tipping our hand.

The current state of affairs in Manchester is a trashy one. I don’t mean politics. I don’t mean the Department of Public Works. I mean what Mom said: “Pick up after yourself.”

This is where Elvis comes in. Trash begets more trash. Clean begets more clean. Don’t rush in to pollute. If you feel small positive acts are futile and candy wrappers should be tossed over your shoulder, then please send me all of your Mega Millions tickets. I’ll let you know how they come out.

Here’s the way an anthropologist from a galaxy far, far away would see Manchester:

  1. The kajillion cigarette butts on the ground outside of buildings must mean an important religious ceremony takes place there.
  2. The used dog poop bags thrown into someone else’s recycling tote can only mean they are valuable gifts.
  3. Flat screen TVs left on the curb must be portals to black holes.
  4. The revealed numbers on scratch tickets tossed to the tarmac are likely an intelligence test. Everyone far, far away knows a $2 6-14-21-38-42 has it all over a $5 3-13-19-28-32. Convenience stores can only be important buildings of higher learning.
Jen Drociak, Manchester’s own garbageologist, with a May snowman’s head.

Manchester has its own garbageologist in Jen Drociak. She works for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services/Wetlands Bureau, and has been the driving force behind the Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program for 23 years. During that time, according to Drociak, 1,173 volunteers have collected 2,653 bags of trash over 127 cleanups. There’s this week’s Mega Million numbers right there! Do not throw these numbers away!

Things that can’t be bagged but have appeared at these cleanups are a hockey goal, shopping carts, tires, and a rear bumper of a VW bus. Since these have appeared in Nutts Pond cleanups I have participated in, I reckon space travelers would view these as important objects since they were placed in valuable waterways.

When I was advisor to the Memorial High School Ecology Club, I would superimpose a map of Nutts Pond over one of Chesapeake Bay. The sad but true fact is that lonely rivers flow not to the sea, to the sea, but to the open arms of low points, yeah. Despite its size, Chesapeake Bay is quite shallow. It’s taken several decades to realize both the nature and scope of the problem. No one ever bothered bagging southern Pennsylvania cow poop and throwing it into their neighbors’ recycling totes. Instead, the tributary trickle-down effect put the poop in close proximity to the Maryland Blue Crab, a sin the magnitude of taking away someone’s cellphone for the summer. Pennsylvania and Maryland have mitigated the problem by erecting containment barriers. (Obviously, Jersey cows have Jersey barriers).

While eating anything that comes out of Nutts Pond is not advised, we did meet a Manchester gent who remembered catching fish out of the pond as a young boy. Consuming any driftage hadn’t affected him but then he never had to ingest a hockey net.

Nutts Pond doesn’t have to fend off cow poop, but it does have to do battle with South Willow Street. There is the occasional blade of grass in the area but for the most part everything is paved. When it rains, the oil and gas drippings from your car get washed into the pond, thus assuring that any Maryland Blue Crabs thinking about relocating north will already have return tickets in claw.


Photo Gallery/Jen Drociak

Drociak is a pond half-clean kind of person as she had this to say: “I don’t believe most of what we find, aside from obvious illegal dumping of bulky items, is discarded intentionally.”

I’m a pond half-dirty kind of person. Stuffed animals should not be sucking pond water. Surely, there are better homes.


We’re all in this together. The average plastic bag from a store has a lifespan of either 12 minutes for your single purchase or 43 years if you wad it up and add it to the 4,200 other ones you have beneath your kitchen sink. Use your own bags.

Remember your poop karma.

Check out Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program on Facebook. Help is always needed at Dorrs Pond, Crystal Lake, Stevens Pond, Black Brook, McQuesten Book and Nutts Pond. The program won a 2011 EPA merit award and several volunteers were recognized by the mayor and board of aldermen in 2018.


About this Author

John Angelo

John Angelo’s humor has appeared in “Publisher’s Weekly,” “Writer’s Digest,” and “American Bookseller.” He is a frequent contributor to the “New Hampshire Business Review.” For a Christmas concert at his Catholic grammar school, the nuns told him to mouth the words and that he’d better not make a sound under any circumstances.