Peter John McLean

Overly Vigilant Dumpster Guy (Personal History)

I met Overly Vigilant Dumpster Guy when I was nineteen or twenty. I was living in this ranch house about  twenty miles outside of Pueblo, Colorado and I didn’t have any kind of trash service, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until the trash starts piling up. Now when I was nineteen my trash consisted mostly of handles of gin, cigarette cartons, and Adolfo’s burrito wrappers. For the first couple of weeks this seemed like no big deal.

I kept ignoring the trash problem, filling up bags and bags and bags and eventually just letting it pile up in the corner of the kitchen. The kitchen was really big and I could just shove it all in what a normal family would call “the breakfast area”. Since I lived there alone I had plenty of room to spare, so using what a normal family would consider a room as an expanded trash area was, again, no big deal.

Eventually things got out of control.



“You’ve got to do something about this trash,” Paul observed one day, brilliantly.

I explained my problem. I had no trash service so I had to plan some kind of covert operation to get rid of all this trash. It was the kind of problem that seemed simple enough until actual plans were discussed, then it seemed impossible. Where was a commercial dumpster that was just available for irresponsible twenty somethings to throw shit away for free?

I eventually had an idea.

There was what can only be described as a dumpster commune, near the mall, where a huge pile of dumpsters were collected. If we could get in there, we could definitely dump the trash.

There was a private property sign outside the dumpster commune, which complicated matters a lot. In Colorado, where it is completely legal to shoot someone for stepping on your property, trespassing is generally not a good idea. But we really had to get rid of this trash.

So, at two in the morning, Paul and I slowly rolled onto this guy’s property in his Nissan, with the lights off. There was no way he’d know we were there. We had about five full size trash bags packed to the point of explosion with empty bottles of gin, about five thousand empty packs of Camel Menthols, and at least ten million greasy burrito wrappers.

I threw a bag in, Paul threw one in, I turned back to grab another bag and there he was. Overly Vigilant Dumpster Guy.

me, as a bear

me, as a bear

I was caught red handed, standing on this guy’s private property, in a state that exonerated a prison killing as self defense, and again gave a guy a pass for killing cops under the same premise. I’m a firm believer in one’s fundamental right to shoot someone for stepping on their private property…until I’m illegally dumping my burrito wrappers in your dumpster commune. In which case, fuck the Second Amendment.

“This is private property,” he said, predictably.

“Oh, I didn’t know,” I said, hoping there was some kind of loophole in the law that said you couldn’t shoot illiterate assholes.

“Just get out.”

Paul and I quietly got back into his car and drove off, with three bags of trash still jammed in the back seat of his Nissan.

“I’m so glad he didn’t shoot us,” I confessed, lighting a cigarette.

Paul agreed.

We quietly drove all the way back to the ranch, with three giant bags of trash that we had no clue how to get rid of.


*Author’s note: here’s a cooler more normal picture of Peter John McLean. I’m not always a bear ransacking a dumpster.