Christmas comes but once a year, but it seems that afterward it can be a veritable eternity watching discarded Christmas trees decomp by the curbs upon which their irresponsible discard-‘tards dump them.

Short of dedicating the waste management resources to pick up directly after this legion of post-holiday idiots, the city of Los Angeles goes to some pretty decent lengths setting up accessible recylcing depots wherein the few the proud the conscientious of us can bear our arbors to be ground into mulch.

Last year around this time I made a sweep of several of my neighborhood’s blocks and ended up hauling five (including ours) to the drop-off station in the Los Angeles Zoo’s parking lot. This year I wasn’t feeling so motivated and just loaded up ours and two others in front of the apartment building down the street that had been there for over a week.

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Had my mountain bike not been in the truck’s bed I would have had room for another that I passed on Silver Lake Boulevard north of Sunset, but oh well… three’s company. Four would’ve been an unstable crowd.

Upon arrival my collection was offloaded by city sanitation workers onhand and I was awarded my free goodies, which consisted of my choice of an Afghan pine or Carolina cherry sapling (I chose the latter), a coupon for a free 20-pound bag of organic mulch and an energy-saver light bulb (easily a $5 value). One of the workers asked me for stats purposes how I heard about the program and I told him I’ve been doing it every year I’ve had a tree going back to my late-1990s Encino days, he then noted that I arrived with three trees instead of the usual one, and I told him that this is the second year that I’ve taken it upon myself to pick up the slack let out by a couple of my stupid don’t-give-a-crap neighbors.

He nodded, obviously familiar with that aggravating subspecies of urban human. Then he told me to help myself to another sapling and an extra light bulb and he slid me some more mulch coupons, too:

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Score!

I’m gonna pot both little trees later this afternoon, and with a little green-thumb luck the Afghan pine, which can grow up to six feet a year, might be tall enough to debut as our living Christmas tree next year.