Being Green

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, “they didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s their problem today. Ytheir generation did not care enough to save their environment for future generations.”

She was right — her generation didn’t have the green thing in their day.

Back then, they 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 truely recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in their day.

Grocery stores bagged their groceries in brown paper bags, that they reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for their schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for their use by the school) was not defaced by their scribblings. Then they were able to personalize their books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad they didn’t do the green thing back then.

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

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in their day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throwaway kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry their clothes back in their early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; they didn’t have the green thing back in their day.

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

But she’s right; they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they 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. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they 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.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful they old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.

They don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss them off.

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