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 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
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 pass this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson
in conservation from a smart erse young person...
We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to
tick us off.