A few weeks ago I shared on my Club Page a video of my first silver ring found while metal detecting.
It got my heart pumping when I saw it because I was convinced it was a quarter when I started moving aside the tan bark in the tot lot.
My first silver ring came a lot sooner than it does for a lot of people in the metal detecting hobby. Some have told me it was many months before they found their first piece of jewelry of any kind.
But with beginner's luck also comes a lesson in what I am dubbing The Perils of the Playground.
These are all the not so nice things that one finds while detecting the earth for coins and rings and treasure.
In the first month that I have been partaking in this hobby, I have unearthed some very dangerous things from tot lots (the nickname detectorists use for any children's playground...our favorites are the ones with tan bark because items are quick to disappear when dropped and easy to find with minimal digging).
So far I have removed dozens of rusty nails, sharp pieces of metal, glass (found while digging around, not by the detector itself), torn up and jagged beer and soda cans, etc.
It is a good feeling to rid the park of these items, knowing that my own children and other people's children are a bit safer because of my efforts. The sheer volume of plain old garbage (candy and gum wrappers mainly) that I throw away makes me feel as if a good deed has been done just by showing up and getting that crud out of there.
But I wasn't prepared for what I found the other day. In fact, it was in the SAME PARK in which I found the silver ring.
A used condom.
What a horrible sight. And it was just sitting there on top of the tan bark, waiting for some innocent, unsuspecting child to pick it up. It was in the kiddie section of the park, designed for toddlers and kids under 5. So these are kids who definitely would not have any idea what the object was and would most likely pick it up.
How disgusting is that? I was filled with rage at the unknown, filthy person who would do such a thing. Not only was it foul, but it was potentially harmful to someone's health. It would a real easy way for a kid to get God knows what disease or illness. Leaving something like that behind should get you an automatic night in jail. I'm serious.
I got paper towels from the nearby restroom, and with my always gloved hand, proceeded to throw it away.
There was no way I could leave it sitting there, as disgusting as it was.
Metal detecting is a wonderful hobby. It's full of adventure, mystery, exercise, and the great outdoors. It's a great family hobby, too.
But part of the ugly side of the hobby is finding some pretty foul things along with the coins and the treasure.
It's in the metal detectorist's creed if you will to rid places of garbage while we are seeking those gold nuggets.
I can't even tell you how much trash I've hauled from the couple of beaches I have detected so far. DISGUSTING amounts.
If we all picked up trash at our feet when possible...and better yet--never dropped a single piece in the first place--our parks would be cleaner and safer for us and our children.
So please be careful out there. The parks are full of dangers that aren't always as obvious as a used condom. There's stuff lurking sometimes just within half an inch of the tan bark your kids are running around.
Just be aware and thanks for helping take out the trash.