The green thing ………….
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman
that she should bring her own shopping 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 cashier 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, pop 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. 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 in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every shop
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 nappies because we didn't have the throw-away
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
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 county of Yorkshire. 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 petrol 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 water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of
demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country. We accepted that
a lot of food was seasonal and didn't expect that to be bucked by flying
it thousands of air miles around the world. We actually cooked food that
didn't come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we could even wash
our own vegetables and chop our own salad.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the tram or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to
school or walked instead of turning their mothers 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 computerised gadget to receive
a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find
the nearest pizza 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 smart-ass young person.
Remember: Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first
place, so it doesn't take much to hack us off.