Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Being Green, or channeling my inner Feagler just after Earth Day

Being Green, or channeling my inner Feagler [1] just after Earth Day

[H/T to my Empire Junior High School classmate, Carolyn Carrier [née Hill], who emailed a version of this from Las Vegas, where she kicks butt and takes names as a super Obama volunteer.]
 • • •
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right — our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to protect public property — our school system-issued books. Then we  personalized our brown paper bag book covers with our art.

But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have throwaway disposables. We used wind and solar power to dry clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling 220-volt machine. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV and one radio, in the house, not a TV in every room, and the TV screen was the size of a handkerchief, not the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred
by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We used refillable ink pens instead of disposable ballpoints, and we replaced  the razor blades when the blade got dull instead of tossing it in the trash.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

It’s sad how the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then.

You might forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young’un. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

[1] Longtime Cleveland journalist Dick Feagler, the area’s Chief of Nostalgia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hilarious Richard Feagler! You forgot that bits of soap were remolded into new bars and aluminum foil was washed and reused...