By Mark Halper
Posting in Energy
Pay attention to the wagging finger. And for goodness sake, use the clothesline. The sun is your friend. And another thing....
My job's a snap today. I'm simply republishing the hilarious reflection below on how stupid we denizens of post post post modern society are when it comes to energy and the environment. It came to me as one of those viral, pass-em-around jokey emails, having originated, I believe, in England. I've Americanized various place names and references, except that I left "fish and chip shop" intact. There's really no U.S. equivalent to a British "chippy." A mom-and-pop burger joint might do, as long as there were a few flies.
I've kept the original title, "The Green Thing," but I've added my own "subtitle" about the wagging finger, plus the headline above about the grump. There's a lot of truth in the jest, and it all makes good light reading for the weekend. I attempted to find and identify the original author, to no avail. Free free to step forward, whoever you are. Thanks to the old fisherman who sent me this. --MH
The Green Thing: Pay attention to the wagging finger. And for goodness sake, use the clothesline. The sun is your friend. And another thing...
Checking out at Wal-Mart, 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 apologised and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."
The assistant 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, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed, 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.
We walked up stairs because we didn't have an elevator or escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocers and didn't climb into a 200-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 the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 2000 watts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back then. 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 or radio in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief not a screen the size of Texas. 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 post, 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.
When we were thirsty we drank from a tap instead of drinking from a plastic bottle of water shipped from the other side of the world. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor when the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the 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 socket 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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest fish and chip shop.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish, grumpy old git who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartarse young person.
Remember: Don't make old people angry. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off!!!
Note: The original version of this "Americanized" story shockingly referred to "gasoline" as "petrol." The editor, an American expat living in Britain, should have known better. He corrected the word at approximately 3:30 a.m. PDT, May 28. He begs forgiveness, and hopes to avoid incarceration upon his return. For more on the language difficulties, see "expensive tomatoes" comment below. Thanks to reader Tinman57 for spotting the gross oversight.
Photo: Tim Caynes via Flickr.
May 24, 2012
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I was born into a polluted world and my generation had to create green bags. Too bad our past generations couldn't plan forward. I was born into a world where one of my books is a trillion times larger than a real book. Too bad our past generations took so long to create this simple technology. I was born into a world where everywhere I look, property is defaced. Too bad our past generations didn't care about directing society by direct positive engagement. I was born into a world with elevators and escalators. Too bad our past generation thought it would be better, because obviously stairs are such a great invention. I was born into a world where electricity is our crux. Too bad our past generation didn't have that... as it was invented in the 19th century. And too bad they allowed Nikola Tesla to be silently killed with wireless electricity that was totally invented, to be totally lost. I was born into a world where I have to go to gym to be fit. Too bad our past generation allowed us to be slaved into corporate bondage. I was born into a generation where our drinking water is contaminated with fluoride amongst other harmful chemicals. Too bad our past generation couldn't save our most precious physical commodity. I was born into a world where typing into a computer is possible. Too bad our past generation didn't care to keep us posted on how to use and write with feather and ink. I was born into a world where the more you recycle, the more you provide. Too bad our past generation never realised that. I was born into a world where criminals and alcoholic drivers run rampant. Too bad our past generation resorted to this and allowed their offspring to follow. I was born into a world where technology advances and I can have one wall plug, instead of two. Too bad our past generation never thought of this. I was born into a world that would make use of GPS. Out of all the technological projects that had budget cuts, thank God our past generation decided not to pull the plug on that one. I was born into a world where people just eat burgers and fast food. Too bad that's all our past generation could think about when dealing with maps and directions. I was born into a world where opportunity is ripe and oppression is a fug. Instead of moping about the bad, I will thank our past generation for the good. Too bad our past generation still see's the cup half full. I guess that's the main manner in which my generation has evolved. Thank you for the technology our past generation has slaved away to in order for us to tweak and further enhance ourselves. I will not talk down my past generation as they part of me and I am part of them. The way forward from here will be for us to become a collective. For our minds to be uniform. For us to create a new society. For our monetary one to fall away. For the individual shared and the collective to grow. If the present is worse than it was, it's only because we let it get this way. Here's to a bright new future. Love is the fuel of the collective. Let's live!
Good job on the Americanization of this article, however, (and there's almost always a however) you missed the mark on these words: Petrol - Gas, or gasoline git - silly, incompetent, stupid, annoying, or childish smartarse - Smartass
- 'We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days." - Her generation did not invent and spread the use of plastic bags. That would be the boomers. She also did not have norovirus spreading by the paper grocery bags they used and recycled. Does anyone else remember how to make a textbook cover with one? http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/20120510/norovirus-reusable-grocery-bag-120510/
still do the walking and don't even have a clothes dryer except the solar kind. you should see people when i tell them i have a solar clothes dryer, usually have to explain that it is a clothes line
Well spotted (pardon the British phrase), Tinman57. I had intentionally left "git" and "smartarse" in, because I wanted to retain some British flavor, or flavour, if you will. And I reckoned (British)/figured (American) that American readers would get those. I'll continue to let them stand. However, shame on me: How could I possibly have referred to American's cherished "gasoline" as anything other than that? Petrol is indeed gasoline in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Or, to apply another definition: Petrol - fuel that powers motor vehicles and that costs on average $3.70 per gallon in the U.S., and $8.20 per gallon in the UK. I've now changed the word accordingly in the story. Please forgive the original un-American oversight!
...and a new agency to oversee bag sanitation. I'm certain there's a "green" company out there already with a million-dollar machine to achieve this. More jobs saved or created!