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Dumpster Diving

By Corey Gibson · June 1st, 2011 · Living Out Loud
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Most people would have bought a new basketball or a box of golf balls, but I opted for an Airsoft gun. Having a $25 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods did me little good considering I play zero sports. Yet, in hindsight, I probably should have bought a few baseballs. At least they would’ve kept me out of trouble.

Every year for my birthday someone in my family gives me a gift certificate to Dick’s, and every year I trade it for real money — except for my freshman year in college.

The Airsoft gun was about the same size and weight of a real gun except it had a clear, see-through frame that allowed you to view the mechanics of the gun. It became quite the staple in my dorm room, always sitting in its place above our mini-fridge. My roommate used to shoot holes in the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas poster I had above my bed and leave the little plastic, yellow pellets littered around the room.

On the final day of school, while I was at class, the resident assistant for our floor came to our room to check my roommate out of the dorm for the summer. Unfortunately for me, the RA saw the Airsoft Gun on the mini-fridge and asked my roommate who owned the “gun.” My roommate told him it was mine.

When I arrived back at the room after class, I received a text from my roommate telling me the RA was coming with the police to get the Airsoft gun. I immediately panicked, took the gun and as many of the pellets as I could gather off the floor and threw them down the garbage chute. This turned out to be a huge mistake.

A few minutes after I tossed the gun, the RA and a female police officer were knocking on my door.

“Where’s the gun?” the cop asked me.

“I threw it away in the trash,” I said. Then the lies started to flow.

“It was broken. It wasn’t even mine. It was some girl named Heather’s.”

She took a quick glance around the nearly empty room and told me I was going to have to go down to the basement, get in the garbage container and find it.

The officer and the RA led me down the hall to the custodian’s door. The RA unlocked the door and we walked into a room with a large service elevator. The officer and I took the elevator down to the basement. When the doors opened we walked around a corner and came to the largest trash container I’ve ever seen.

It was the size of my dorm room, in length and height. All kinds of trash was shooting out of a hole in the ceiling, piling up in the dumpster.

“I’m not telling you that you have to get inside that dumpster,” the officer said, “so don’t tell your parents I told you that, but if you don’t go in there and find that gun, it is not going to look good for you.”

Stunned that I was going to have to rummage around in a dumpster the size of my room for an Airsoft gun, I didn’t say anything and took the rubber gloves the officer gave me and climbed into the dumpster.

There are probably very few things that could be as degrading as standing on a pile of trash, on my final day of school, searching through condoms, old food, beer bottles and pizza boxes, while more trash continuously piled up around me, just to find a toy I knew was under 4 feet of trash.

“I can’t find it,” I said to the officer. She told me to get out of the dumpster and we proceeded back to the elevator. We took it to the first floor and walked into the main office. She had apparently called backup, because there were now four or five cops standing in the room.

After a phone call to my mother, the police officer asked me again where the gun was.

“I threw it away,” I said. “It wasn’t even mine. It was some girl’s.” I continued to try and lie my way out of the situation but the officers were not buying my story.

Soon after the phone call, my step-dad, who was on his way to pick me up from college, walked into the room. Being a former cop himself, I knew I had to come clean.

“The Airsoft gun was mine,” I said shamefully. “But I really did throw it down the trash chute.”

All the officers in the room looked stunned.

“Was it a pellet gun,” one of the male officers in the room asked me.

“No,” I said quizzically.

Apparently the RA who saw the gun told the police I was in possession of a dangerous pellet gun, not an Airsoft gun that couldn’t break skin if it was shot point blank.

Most of the officers cleared out of the office while the female officer said it was school violation and I would probably just have to do some school-mandated work.

I have learned a few things from this situation that took place nearly five years ago. First, I should always sell my Dick’s gift card for real money or buy some golf balls. Second, always make sure the cops know exactly what you did, especially if it was something fairly harmless. And last, lying is pretty bad, but owning an Airsoft gun is a lot worse.


CONTACT COREY GIBSON: letters@citybeat.com


 
 
 
 

 

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