Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Philosophy - Being Green

I received this from a friend and it played so true for me, especially the grocery bag book covers.  While you older guys out there will appreciate it's accuracy, it's the young folks who probably need to read it.

"Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much 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 scribbling. 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 in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the "green thing." 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 that 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...especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart-ass who can't make change without the cash register telling them how much."

We get some of this attitude from granddaughter, Madison , and I just have to smile and let it go.  

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.



  1. This one is so true Larry and well worth telling over & over again. I remember my parents using a brown paper bag for flouring chicken and another one for draining it when it came out of the skillet. And you're right about no one today under fifty can make change without a calculator or the register telling them how much.

  2. Larry, I remember wrapping packages for shipping using those brown paper grocery bags. We also ripened the last of the tomatoes in those or with old newspapers. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  3. Isn't amazing how many 'green' things gone done back before we had the 'green thing'? And as a former math teacher, don't get me started on the younger generation's inability to do arithmetic without electronic help.

  4. excellent post! It put a big smile on my face and brought back memories.

  5. Absolutely great post and so true...thank you Larry, for sharing it. I read it to my husband and he had me email it to him. All of his friends will be getting it tomorrow morning.

  6. Excellent post, Larry, I enjoyed the memories. yep, all of my school books were grocery bag brown. I was working in retail grocery when "t-shirt bags" (that's what the label on the plastic bag boxes read) showed up in the store as an alternative to paper bags. I thought they would be a short term thing and then disappear.

    On a ironic side note, all of those bring your own totes are not good for the environment. A UK study showed the environmental impact of making the totes compared to plastic bags requires that the tote be used 170+ times to break even but the average tote is only used 51 times before disposed/lost/etc.


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