A mattress and box springs stacked near a curb catch the professor’s eye. There is some scrap metal on top of the mattress, along with a few sticks of discarded lumber. He reaches into his pocket and retrieves the small, round magnet attached to his key chain. “This,” he says, “is a scrounger’s most important tool.” If the magnet is attracted to the metal, then it’s probably iron and therefore not worth grabbing. Iron isn’t worth much at the scrap yard. If the magnet is not attracted, then the metal might be aluminum, a more sought-after commodity. The magnet likes the metal, and so we leave it behind. —Thomas Bartlett explores the recycled and only occasionally stinky life of “punkass anarchist” professor Jeff Ferrell.
—The Emperor of Scrounge: A tenured professor becomes a Dumpster diver (Chronicle)
Just in case my current SHU gig doesn’t work out, it’s good to explore the alternatives.