Commingled Conversation: Bruce Parker

Commingled Conversation: Bruce Parker

A lighthearted Q&A with the president and CEO of the Environmental Industry Associations.

This is the inaugural edition of Commingled Conversation, a lighthearted Q&A with waste industry figures that is designed to shed some light on their personalities and interests. Enough with the analysis of industry trends and news. Let's get down to the questions that are really on everyone's mind, such as "What is Bruce Parker's favorite movie?"

Speaking of Bruce Parker, the president and CEO of the Environmental Industry Associations is this month's interviewee. Read on to find out about his answer to the question above, his 1963 hitchhiking journey across the country … and his unusual non-English language skills.

Waste Age (WA): What is your pet peeve?

Parker: People who do not say "thank you" when you hold the door open for them, give up a seat or do some other act of civility on their behalf.

WA: What is your idea of the perfect day?

Parker: Eating, napping, reading, eating, napping, listening to music and just "hanging out."

WA: What is the best advice you've ever received?

Parker: Treat everyone with respect and be honest because you won't have to remember what you said (from my father).

WA: What was the last book you read?

Parker: The "Bridge of San Luis Rey" (1927) by Thornton Wilder.

WA: What is your favorite movie?

Parker: "The Lives of Others," a 2006 independent, German film with subtitles about an agent of the secret police conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, who becomes increasingly absorbed by their lives. Everyone in the audience stood up and clapped.

WA: What is your favorite TV show?

Parker: The Charlie Rose Show on PBS.

WA: Beatles or Rolling Stones?

Parker: That's a tough one, but I'll go with the Stones!

WA: What is the strangest piece of trash you've ever come across?

Parker: An unedited draft of "Wild Days and Nights: A Single Man's Journal" by Marc Acampora before his marriage. True or false?

WA: Do you prefer the beach or mountains?

Parker: The beach.

WA: What is the one thing you couldn't live without?

Parker: My lungs.

WA: If you could invite three people — living or dead — to a dinner party, who would they be?

Parker: Abraham Lincoln, Oliver Sacks and Blake Lively.

WA: If you weren't president and CEO of EIA, what would you like to be?

Parker: A psychiatrist.

WA: What is your favorite sports team?

Parker: The Washington Redskins.

WA: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Parker: The power to become invisible so I could listen to conversations and learn amazing things and be both surprised and shocked.

WA: What's the most adventurous thing you've done?

Parker: Thumbed across the country in 1963 (college break) from San Francisco to Philadelphia and back. I slept on someone's lawn in Salt Lake City, and a policeman woke me up and asked if I was LDS (Latter Day Saints). I said "yes" thinking it was a fraternity. It's not! So I was told to move on.

WA: What's the one talent you have that not many people know about?

Parker: I can speak fluently in a created language, which I sometimes use to make unwanted house callers quickly hang up.

If you have suggestions for future interviewees, send us an e-mail at

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