Essays On Dumpster Diving Lars Eighner

Essays On Dumpster Diving Lars Eighner-18
Eighner prefers being referred to as a scavenger rather than a dumpster driver. ” (383) He describes scavenging as a full time job, that requires a lot of effort.

Eighner prefers being referred to as a scavenger rather than a dumpster driver. ” (383) He describes scavenging as a full time job, that requires a lot of effort.

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Eighner maintains a bitter running critique of the city’s welfare services, however.

He spies “a general contempt for the poor” in their uselessness.

Eighner disliked the phrase “Dumpster diving” because it sounds cute.

“I prefer the word when I mean to be obscure,” he writes.

From being a person with low self-esteem, the scavenger gains confidence as he encount ...

The worst thing about being homeless, Lars Eighner writes in his memoir “Travels With Lizbeth” (1993), is not eating from Dumpsters or being rousted by police or attacked while sleeping by fire ants or jeered at by those who find you contemptible. Eighner spent three years on the streets (mostly in Austin, Tex.) and on the road in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the book he wrote about that time is a literate and exceedingly humane document.“Travels With Lizbeth” contains the finest first-person writing we have about the experience of being homeless in America.It’s the sort of book that releases the emergency brake on your soul.Eighner became homeless, in his late 30s, the way a sinkhole devours a pickup truck: slowly, then all at once. “Being suddenly intoxicated in a public place in the early afternoon,” he writes, “is not my idea of a good time.”He has an acquisitive mind.Soon he became apt to realizing which pizzas were fresh and which were old.Although there are a lot of different kinds of food available to him, he refrains from poultry, pork and eggs and is not too big on ethnic foods.As his savings started running out, he had to use his intermittent income to cover it and depend on the dumpsters for his other necessities including food, toilet paper, medicine, books, furnishings, etc.Along with his dog, Lizabeth, he would rummage through the dumpsters to find these items.Because he slept under the stars, he decided to learn about them.He did not obtain a college degree but is the sort of fellow who can drop French phrases into his writing without sounding la-di-da.He nixes the use of “foraging,” as well, preferring to “reserve that word for gathering nuts and berries and such.”This chapter is a sad-funny primer on how to eat well from refuse, at least after you get over the initial jarring impression that every grain of rice is a maggot. About botulism, he writes: “often the first symptom is death.”There is something strangely Emersonian, capable and self-reliant, in his scavenging. “I think it a sound and honorable niche.”By the end of “Travels With Lizbeth,” the author was, happily, no longer living on the streets.He sat and wrote this book, which has lost none of its wit or urgency.


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