“Dumpster divers” are repulsive, unskilled people; this is the kind of assumption that Lars Eighner encourages people to dismiss in his piece, “On Dumpster Diving”. Many people have stumbled upon someone digging through a dumpster at some point in their lives. Their first reaction is usually to be disgusted or to pity the person doing the digging. They feel sorry for them, when they should be feeling sorry for themselves instead (Eighner 365). Those dumpster divers they pity have acquired skills to be self-reliant, unlike most of the population. Diving through dumpsters requires much more than meets the eye; to be successful at it they must be intelligent so they can identify food that is safe to eat, moral to successfully follow the unwritten rules of scavenging, and patient enough to sift through trash to find the good items that people have thrown out.
Most people have accidently eaten spoiled food from their own kitchen before, whether it was spoiled milk, moldy bread, or some other unpleasant fare. Dumpster divers, who use their intelligence, are much less likely to accidently consume bad food. They avoid it by simply asking themselves the question, “’Why was this discarded?’” (Eighner 357). Intelligence is what keeps them safe and healthy; it gives them the ability to tell good food from bad food. If “scavengers” lacked intelligence they might not be able to tell the difference from a can of food with deadly botulism and a perfectly good can (Eighner 357). ”Scavengers” also use their intelligence for problem-solving. For example, Eighner mentions that he sometimes would use long sticks to roll items that were in the bottom of a dumpster into plastic bags to be lifted out without him having to physically get into the dumpster (Eighner 364). If he had not had the intelligence to come up with that solution, it would have taken a lot more time and energy for
him to retrieve the good items. For these reasons, intelligence is vital to a good...