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He had migraines that were not properly treated and lost a series of jobs. “Eventually,” he writes, “I became homeless enough to suit anyone’s definition.”On the streets, Eighner clung to a kind of dignity. He foraged for books and magazines as much as food.
This book includes two accounts of hitchhiking to the West Coast. (Like Kerouac and another hero of the American road, Bruce Springsteen, Eighner saw the world from the passenger seat.)On one evening ride he came over a rise in the desert and “in every direction were the shimmering lights of the thickly populated valley below us: rose sodium lights, blue mercury vapor, neon and yellow incandescent; all before us glittering in the darkness. It was beautiful and, so I hoped, somewhere down there Lizbeth and I might get off the road.”If I cannot persuade you to read a nearly 25-year-old book about sleeping rough, perhaps I can convince you to read its pièce de résistance, a short chapter called “On Dumpster Diving.”The title is a bit of a misnomer.Despite the care he takes, he still manages to get "dysentery" once a month.He also expresses the stages a new scavenger goes through.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 stated “I like the frankness of the word scavenging. He believes that if one follows certain guidelines and rules, with doing so this could possibly help one to become efficient.Used copies of books that are out of print are available from various online retailers and libraries. In Lars Eighner’s short essay “On Dumpster Diving”, he describes his experience of being homeless and the art of dumpster driving.Although he would rather spend a "comfortable consumer life," he nevertheless learned a lot from being a scavenger which he discusses in the rest of the chapter. He says that in evaluating food, one must ask the question, "Why was this discarded?" He talks about the various diseases such as "botulism"that can arise from stale food and ways to avoid it such as avoid eating from "dented" or "bulging" cans.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.