William H. McCormick VMD
2017 was the sixteenth consecutive year of volunteer action to control trash on the Foxcroft Road. The author conducts this survey as a single observer. The numbers here noted are understated but true. With the total of 1060 individual pieces of trash, 2017 was an average year for trash retrieval.
To aid those first time readers and as a reminder to past readers of this column, the course of trash collection is a 4.6 mile route of dirt and hard road that includes portions of the Polecat Hill Rd. (Rt. 696), the Foxcroft Rd. (Rt. 626), the Snake Hill Rd. (Rt. 744), and the Millville Rd. (Rt. 743).
Our current champion producer of trash on the Foxcroft Road, McDonald’s has held the envious position at the top of the heap for four years. According to the company 75% of Americans live within a three mile radius of a McDonald’s. Middleburg is in the unenviable position of having Mickey D’s on four sides, Marshall, Purcellville, Waterloo, and Fairfax. That the closest is ten miles away, shows the putative reach of fast food. In the past four years McDonald’s worldwide business has dropped 10%, which equals 500 million transactions, despite reorganization, a new CEO, sales of foreign assets, and plans to deliver Big Macs and fries. Could drone delivery be on the horizon? In fast food there is plenty of competition from the likes of 7-Eleven, Taco Bell, Chick Fil A, Dunkin Donuts, Sheetz etc. Combined these groups accounted for 24% of the total of all the road trash in this study. There was only one year in the past (2010) when fast food rose above the 20% mark.
McDonald’s also has an unholy cooperative arrangement with Coca Cola. Our current President (POTUS), Don Trump, is said to drink up to twelve Diet Cokes per day along with his Big Macs. The “Diet” aspect may decrease the obesity and Type 2 diabetes potential but not the chemicals or caffeine ingested. Financier Warren Buffett’s favorite is Zero Coke, and he assures us that Coca Cola is the best managed company in the Universe. However, Pepsico surpassed Coke in ability to get trash on the road 39 vs 30 pieces.
The general category responsible for the greatest number of trash items is the Miscellaneous group. In this group the components are diverse, extending from Trump campaign signs to paper napkins, phonebooks, generic cups and containers, plastic bags, aluminum foil wrappers, birthday balloons, and lastly car parts. The car part total is dependent upon how many drunks collide with trees, stone walls, fences and other drivers. The presence of car parts is involuntary, unlike the other categories of road trash.
In the New York Times best seller The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking (2016, Barnes and Noble), the Danish word hygge is not easily translated into English but roughly means comfort or a sense of well being. Therefore, one’s sense of hygge is enhanced by the sound of rain on a roof, a warm stove on a cold winter evening, a sleeping cat, or in our case a country road unencumbered by fast food containers and beer bottles. Though the Foxcroft Road may not be as clean as the streets of Pyongyang, it does have its discreet charms.
“Happiness consists more of small conveniences that occur every day than in great pieces of good fortune that seldom occur.” Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Founder of the University of Pennsylvania.