From The Atlantic, Family Section
I, too, had a more-than-passing interest in the garbage truck as a kid; with palpable residual excitement, I can remember peeking through the window shutters of my parents’ front room to watch the vaguely menacing robotic arm jut out, snatch our garbage can, and dangle the can upside down over its back while the trash tumbled out. Why generations of kids have been so transfixed by the trash pickup, though, remains something of a mystery. So I asked parents, kids, child-development experts, waste-management professionals, and even the creator of a kids’ show about an anthropomorphized garbage truck for their insights. Together, we made our way—more aptly, lurched and rumbled our way—toward a unifying theory of why kids are so wild about garbage trucks.
Author ASHLEY FETTERS talks to several experts and the two foremost authorities—kids and garbage-truck drivers. Naturally, we never lost our fascination with the men and women in our industry.