trashWhile waiting for an oil change, I recently overheard one side of a phone conversation. The woman on my end referred to somebody as “common trash”. She then said, “He is like somebody you would see on ‘Cops’”. Hearing her brought me back to my childhood.

Growing up, my momma frequently bounced around the term “Common Trash” as a putdown of folks whom she didn’t like or approve.  At first, I didn’t have a clue what it meant; although, from momma’s tone I knew it wasn’t a compliment. At some point, perhaps around age nine or ten, I began to sense a link between trash and hairstyle — particularly my brother Bill’s ducktails. Momma was always gripping about them. Once she said he “looked like common trash”. I recall as she said that, she had an emotional quiver in her voice.  I have never forgotten than night because it was about a 9.9 on the Richter scale of Bill’s hurling of the F Bombs.  When Bill was later expelled from Father Ryan High, momma was afraid the people at church would think we were all common trash. Finally, with all the dysfunction and shame in our family, there came a point when I thought perhaps I was common trash too. That bothered me greatly. Somehow as I grew older, I figured out that I wasn’t; but for the life of me, I still didn’t have a clear understanding of the term until the day at the oil change day.

When I heard the woman talking on the phone, it was like clicking the mouse in my brain.  For the first time, I was able to get a handle on “common trash”. It has nothing to do with standard of living, jacked up cars, F Bombs, education or crimes committed.  It absolutely hasn’t anything to do whatsoever with hair!  Any of us can choose to do trashy things and many folks do; but the truth is, momma was wrong. No person is common trash. The only thing you can do with trash is throw it out, because it has no value. The Bible says that God made humans in His image. There is nothing common or trashy about God and there is no person beyond God’s love —-none!

Part 1 UNSCREWED – Becoming Whole Again

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