I’ve heard more than one person say that this economy is nearly trashed.

Well, I’m not usually one to talk trash, but I do have a trashy parable to tell.

It happens every time during the holidays.

Hysteria envelopes our quiet neighborhood whenever we get the postcard informing us that for the duration of the holidays, our regular trash day will move to accommodate a holiday schedule.

I call it – December’s Great Disposal Debacle.

On the week before Christmas, folks are too busy buying junk on sale to think about disposing junk. But by New Year’s our cans are filled with the carcasses of turkeys and old dollies. No one can remember exactly what that postcard said because it’s also in the trash.

With so many postcards in the bottom of so many trashcans, people follow the herd mentality.

One cocky soul, confident he remembers the temporary trash day, will put his trash on the line. As he drags his cans curbside, doors creak for peeks, neighbors labor and phones buzz. More cans follow.

Joggers and mommies pushing strollers spread the fear via cell phones urging spouses to make the curbside push. That’s when the dam breaks.

Herds of people make the dash for the curb praying it’s not too late. It’s that whole herd-to-the-curb mentality.

I remember a few years ago, just after New Year’s Day, I woke up urging my wife to help me push the cans to curb. “Our cans are stuffed! Hurry or we’ll miss the pickup,” I warned in my repent-or-burn voice.

“I think we’re back on the regular schedule.”

“Then why are so many people putting their trash out?” I asked.

“One person did, so they all did,” she said, yelling her social commentary as I rattled the cans to the street.

Determined to prove her wrong, I scouted for the sound of every delivery truck. Other neighbors joined my acoustical surveillance team as they cocked their ears out second-story windows.

People ran across the street consulting neighbors — pulling out more cans — doors were opening and slamming in search of that truck. Finally, when rumor found its saturation point, a hard-headed neighbor emerged brandishing the postcard she had dutifully posted on her refrigerator.

As she circulated her epistle, converts found the truth and returned their cans to the hidden place where respectable neighborhood CC&R’s demand they be placed.

Still some who were unwilling to demonstrate Swagartlike shame for their sins kept their cans curbside all the while muttering, “They’ll be sorry when the truck comes!”

I don’t mean to trivialize this economic mess we find ourselves in, but last month when I came across a book called Financial Armageddon, I had to wonder if this crisis isn’t inspiring new levels of hyperbole.

I’m trying to stick with facts as I know them because just as in the case of the garbage can debacle, facts remain our best ally against fear. It’s true that many have lost homes and jobs. But it’s more true to say that most people have their jobs and homes.

Before we start acting on our fear, I have to remember that the Bible has a promise that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Trusting in this promise and keeping a sound mind gets my vote every time. No matter what happens, the trash always gets picked up in the end, and God is always with us, even when the trash (or our economy!) is still in the can.