Remembering Phil Meyup

He may have only been a Roane County thing, but one of the creepiest characters I remember from my childhood was a chap named Phil Meyup. Phil Meyup, it seems, was a giant, walking, talking garbage can (get it? His name was pronounced “Fill me up.”). His goal in life was to crack down on litter. I distinctly remember sitting in class, probably in first grade, when suddenly, without warning, in walked in a giant garbage can who immediately started a tangent on the virtue of keeping Roane County clean. He can still be seen; his likeness is illustrated on the fence around the dump on Highway 70 in Midtown.

It was that same year that I entered a poster contest for the Roane Clean Community System. Students in early grades all across the county entered. We were told to design posters that promoted cleanliness, and discouraged litter. My poster was of a bunch of people picking up litter. I didn’t think it was all that great, but it did win second place in the county. My award? Some Cracker Barrel gift certificates (as if I was paying for my own food at age 7), and a Phil Meyup T-shirt.

Alas, I do not know what ever became of that T-shirt, but what I wouldn’t give to have it now. Granted, I couldn’t wear it, but I could hang it up as a tribute to the garbage can, the myth, the legend… Phil Meyup.

UPDATE (03/29/2005): Apparently, the correct spelling for the garbage can’s name is Phil Meeyup (note the extra “e”). He has also been spotted in Columbus, OH.

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