Second Harvest – The Cast-Offs of Affluence

When I got booted out of Peace Corps training at Hilo, Hawaii in December, 1964, I dropped off the plane back to the mainland at Honolulu.  I went to work in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel Makahiki Restaurant for a while as a bussboy while deciding what to do next.

I was the only Haole working at the Makahike.  All the other bussboys were Filipino and the waitresses, managers were all Orientals.  The bussboys all worked for minimum wage and a percentage of tips, which still left things marginal as a means of survival.

But I soon discovered the bussboys all had an edge.   On my first day, maybe first hour working there I went into the back carrying a huge tray full of dirty dishes and food left behind by the eaters.  I’d no sooner gotten out of sight of the customers before the head bussboy grabbed me by the arm, put the tray down and began screaming at me.  Moving dishes and pointing at leftover food items  I’d mixed, spilled water over, made no effort to keep separate from others.

Garbage!  You made it garbage Haole bastard!”

It turned out all the bussboys kept discarded food separate and put it on a table in the back each time they unloaded from the customer service area.  Then, anytime one of us had a brief break in customer demand up front, we’d go to the table and gobble a half-eaten steak, papaya, anything suiting our fancy. 

During the time I worked there I ate well.  I’m not certain I’ve ever eaten better, more consistently, even during times of affluence.

In the post Could you choose to live on the street? I described a man I knew as a youngster who dropped out of being president of a bank to live under a bridge.  I suspect one of the ways he survived involved carrying what I did at the Makahiki a step further.

Similarly, in the post, Who Has Been an Inspiration in Your Life, and Why? I described a man who’s used second-harvest of affluence as a means to pursue what he considered worthy human activity.

This morning I’m reposting a couple of blogs of people who are following the second harvest route to life.  I admire the spirit.

Old Jules

9 responses to “Second Harvest – The Cast-Offs of Affluence

  1. I joined the second harvest of spirit six years ago. Culture is not your friend. Droppping out, I can see clearly now. I was made sick by culture as most of us are. Got off the track. Great post! I resonate with it.

  2. A few years back (when I was in prison because that was the only place I watched TV- I do not have TV now) I watched an Oprah show about people quitting their six-figure income jobs to live out of dumpsters.

    There are people who get it, and you are one of them, Old Jules!

    Thanks, and tweeted and plus-oned.

  3. Good stuff Jules. All my favorite people are those who can’t much tolerate what passes for mainstream society. Not preying on it, just staying out of its way.

  4. Jules, thanks for some very interesting posts. It is hard to believe that people throw away so much. As my friend used to say, “I guess I need to get out more.”

  5. Jules you are a great writter and I try to stop by daily to read your posts. I read a book back awhile don’t remember the title but anyway This author was driveing up through Oregon and he got stopped by a trooper who enquired ” What are you doing in Oregon ” the author said” I’m writteing a book ” Whats the book about ? The trooper said, The author said ” Whats the purpose of life” The trooper said “Whats the purpose of life!” And started to crack up bending over from laughing so hard” When he caught himself and stood up he looked straight way at the author and said ” Boy the purpose of life is to get through it.”

    A friend of mine spending time in a hobo camp in Texas told me there was a guy who would wake up early in the morning pick up his wine bottle and take a few sips and then look around and exclaim” YOU ARE ALL KINGS”

    It’s a very hard life and it’s why so many work so hard not to get there.

    • Thank you timetales. Maybe the book about the meaning of life still needs to be written. Yeah, life’s a tough place for a human being to spend a lifetime. But the pay’s good. Gracias, Jules

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