Saturday, 9 April 2011

The green thing

This got circulated on an email list I subscribe to. The person who sent it failed to provide the link from where he got it. I did not write this - I stole it. I make no apology for that. I will go do a search to see if there is an authentic original somewhere, but perhaps it is already viral. I hope so.

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In the line at the store, the cashier told an older customer: "you know, plastic bags aren't good for the environment". The elderly lady apologized to the young cashier and explained, "You know, we didn't have the green thing back in our day."

That's right, we didn't have the green thing in her day. Back then, we returned our milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But, true, we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

In our day, we walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and we didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But that's 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 disposable kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Hey, you know, wind and solar power really did dry those clothes. But, no green thing.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not all brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, we didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, we had one TV, or maybe just a radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, 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 newspaper to cushion it, not fancy Styrofoam or brand-new plastic bubble wrap. But, we didn't have the green thing.

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 drive the car to a health club, in order to run on a computerized and electrically powered treadmill . But that old lady's right, we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty, without resorting to a new plastic bottle of mineral water for each new sip. We refilled pens with ink, instead of buying new pens, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But the old lady's right, we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, 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 a satellite 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But that old lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in her day.

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