You should always look inside an old coke can when you find one. Really any can will do. Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Shasta, generic grape soda, Squirt, anything. They’re like treasure boxes. You never know what you’re gonna find. I’ve found all kinds of things inside of them. Cool things like sand. Rocks. Sand and rocks. Mud. Mud that has dried and turned into rocks. Old worms. Dead spiders. Living spiders who’ve decided to move in and make it their home, usually those of the wolf spider variety. Roly Poly’s. Centipedes. Millipedes. Sometimes wasps, in which case you should drop th’ can and run. Yell and wave your hands in the air like a maniac so th’ wasps don’t sting you.
If I was in Arkansas, visiting my dad, I could expect to find things inside an old can that I would not necessarily find in Texas. Such as a fishing line, with a lead weight and a hook coated in worm guts. Or those really old tabs that you pulled off th’ can and threw on th’ ground. In Arkansas people hung onto those tabs until they were done drinking, then plopped them in th’ can and threw th’ whole thing on th’ ground. They didn’t want to litter. And speaking of tabs, you should always shake a can that has a tab in it, whether it be th’ new kind or the old. Cans with tabs in them make good shakers, and can hardly be surpassed in their role as percussion instruments.
If you find a can submerged in a ditch, or other body of water, you should pick that up too. These kinds of cans are likely to contain minnows, living or dead. Tadpoles. Half eaten remains of crawdad tails. A pollywog that swam inside then grew too big to get out. Baby mudcats. Algae. Little hookworms that move by flicking their tails back and forth and have mandibles on tiny orange heads. At first you’ll only see one or two of them, but keep looking and you’ll realized there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘em in that little can. Them little buggers’ll put th’ fear of God in you. A good healthy dose of which is good for a body now and then. Throw that can back in th’ water and go home and wash your hands. And do not, for any reason, stick them in your mouth before you do so.
If you want to mix it up a bit, add a little spice to your treasure hunting life, you could take a stroll along a beach, in a town like, oh, say, Galveston Texas. Galveston is an island, and islands tend to have their own kinds of cans. A can found in Galveston is likely to contain all kinds of things not found on the mainland. I may be stating the obvious here, but you can find sea shells inside of cans lying around on th’ beach. Or tiny little jellyfish, if you pull one out of the water during jellyfish spawning season. Or an ambitious hermit crab who wanted a bigger house. Or a partially dissolved Alka-Seltzer. People used to throw those up into the air and the seagulls would catch ‘em and eat ‘em. Then, because seagulls can’t burp or fart their stomachs would fill up with gas and they’d explode. Th’ poor gull would die in the air and plummet to th’ ground, while th’ guy who tossed the Alka-Seltzer would laugh hysterically. A mean trick for sure. Alka-Seltzer is much better off in a can. You might find an old crab claw in a can on a beach. It’s worth sticking your nose up to this can and taking a good whiff. It’s going to smell like seaweed, dead fish, and the ocean. Not a smell you can easily find anywhere else.
I should mention that if you find an old beer can, be careful with it. It might have old beer in it, and that’s gross. But for th’ most part, it’s worth looking into old cans. There are literally thousands of things you can find in there that I haven’t even mentioned. Like marbles. Pieces of fingernail. Earwax. Chewing gum. Chewing tobacco, pre-chewed. Blackcats that didn’t explode. Blackcats that did explode. BB’s. Pellets, of the bb gun variety. Pellets of the mouse poop variety. Tinsel off an old Christmas tree. Th’ back to your moms missing ear ring. A pencil that was sharpened down to a little nub. A pair of panty hose. A sparkplug. One time I even found a pumpkin seed, which had sprouted, and was growing out of th’ top. A little beacon of hope reaching for th’ light.
So you see, it’s always a good idea to look inside an old can when you find one.