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“On Dumpster Diving” by Lars Eighner Essay

“On Dumpster Diving” by Lars Eighner is an essay about the author’s personal struggles of homelessness and the art of getting his daily necessities from local Dumpsters. The main purpose of this essay is to share the author’s own personal experiences of being homeless, to talk of his knowledge of Dumpster diving, and to also explain and give advice on how a person might go about living out of the Dumpsters. Eighner had several experiences while Diving for food. One of those was learning how to tell what was safe to eat and what wasn’t. He informed us that, “eating from a dumpster is what separates the dilettanti from the professionals. Also the author says about several different stages to being a scavenger. The first is the New Scavenger, who is filled with disgust and self-loathing and very ashamed to be seen Diving into Dumpsters. The second stage comes with experience and the scavenger stops hating themselves.

But a majority of Divers realize that they can’t hold on to everything and begin to only take what they have a need for or could use. Those that break the pack rat habit begin to restrict themselves and only get what they have and immediate use for. In addition Eighner complained about how can scroungers have to have some cash. In the end, he explained that he learned two lessons during his time as a scavenger. The first was to take what you can use and let the rest of it go. The second was the transience of material being. Eighner now looks at things much to the same degree that the very rich do, they both know there is plenty more where what they have come from. He views the rest of the people as the “rat race millions,” as people who are on the lookout for anything they can find on the television regardless of if they really need it or not.

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