Sunday, September 23, 2012


A  MISSIVE FROM  Mme  Bouvier,  Justin's grandmere. . . .

Subject: BEING  G R E E N   

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to me, that I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

I 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 ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

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 the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. 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 (remember them?), not a screen 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 refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

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.

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 old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person...

We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.


J said...

Ain't it the truth!

jimm said...

cute. and not every college kid had their own car, in fact, very few did.

Not every street and parking lot had to be lit-up at night.

When our jeans wore out we'd turn them into cut-off shorts.

We popped popcorn in a pan. Very little waste.

Roadkill was used for... j/k j/k!!

But we did plenty wrong, too.

JustinO'Shea said...

JIMM BABES, don't apologize, esp when you're ahead. . .lol

JustinO'Shea said...

"Being ahead. . " . .that's called winning ! nyuk...nyuk. .

Gary Kelly said...

Yep, I remember those days. My first radio was a crystal set my dad made for me. My first bicycle was my older bro's which was second hand in the first place. My mother made my clothes (as well as her own). Our supermarket didn't have a car park. Milk was sold by scooping it into a billy can. Biscuits were sold by weight in a paper bag. Remember the big jars of sweets sold by weight? My mother did her shopping with a string bag. You never saw discarded bottles or cans... they were worth money! We walked to school, rain, hail or shine.

And on and on it goes.

So were they the good old days? Hehe. Ask me later...

Coop said...

Consider me suitably enlightened as I look over at my iced coffee in a disposable plastic cup.
If i'm out and about, literally, I throw out two of these things some days.

JustinO'Shea said...

COOPSTA. . .you've been sufficiently notified. . .be cautious or you may find the Bouvier Front of your tale! 2 or 3 a day?!!! wowzzah.

Coop said...

Sometimes I will drink Two medium iced coffees a day... not 3.