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May 8, 2011 / theoldsilly

Dear Old Silly Sunday – Generational Green Gaffs

Dear Old Silly-

I was in the line at the store the other day, and the cashier told this older woman in front of me—who had chosen plastic after being asked if she wanted that or paper for her bags—that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. Well, so, like this old bag had the audacity to say, apologetically, I will give her that much credit, “Sorry, just not good at learning new habits, I guess. We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

And the clerk was like, so spot on when he said, “That’s our problem today, because of all the problems we inherited. Your generation didn’t care enough about the environment. Because of your lack of concern, now we have dwindling resources and major global environmental issues.”

And he was right, dontcha think, Old Silly? I mean, if your generation had been more green conscious, we wouldn’t be all in like, such a big mess nowadays, right?

Sincerely,

Miss Theresa Akin

Dear Miss T Akin-

Oh yes, He was right, and you—that our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. Back then, we left our empty milk bottles on the front porch so the milkman could sterilize and reuse them. Soda and beer bottles we returned 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’, although that wasn’t the buzz word of the day.

Because like I said, we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

In our day, we walked up stairs, because we didn’t have escalators and elevators in every store and office building. We walked to the corner grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300 horsepower machine to take us every two blocks.

But again, you are so right. We just didn’t have the green thing back in the day.

Why, way back then, we washed the baby’s diapers—wasn’t until the ‘green’ generation came along that the throw-away kind were invented. Same with dishes. We washed them, by hand, not having or even thinking of energy consuming washing machines, and dishware? … never dreamed of buying paperware that the ‘green’ young parents often buy, so that in their hectic, two income lives they can not have to do the dishes and just hurriedly throw the plates, bowls, and plasticware away, thus adding more to our landfills.

We dried our clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts—wind and solar power really did dry the clothes quite nicely, we thought, with that refreshing outdoorsy smell to them. And kids lots of times got hand-me-down clothes from their older brothers or sisters, not always having to spend money and consume more cotton for brand-new clothing.

But please don’t get me wrong. You are absolutely correct in saying we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

I can remember back those many years ago, we had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a modest screen the size of a file folder, not a flat-screen, digital high-tech-high-def monitor the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, Mom blended and stirred by hand because she didn’t have electric machines to do everything for her. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspaper 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 muscle power and elbow grease. We exercised by the adults actually working–either at their jobs or at home doing home and lawn repairs and maintenance. And the kids actually played physical games outside! Like sandlot baseball, football, soccer and basketball … so we didn’t have much need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But … no, 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 buying a plastic bottle full of ‘purified’ water (and then throwing the plastic away) every time we wanted a drink of water. We refilled our writing pens with ink instead of buying a whole box of discardable new pens every week or two, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But the green thing? Never occurred to us. So stupid of us back then, hmm?

Back then, people often took the streetcar or a bus to work or to go downtown, and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms and/or dads into a 24-hour taxi service. We had typically 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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. We didn’t spend money on GPS’s, because we were taught how to read maps and tell the four directions by the position of the sun, moon, and stars.

So I can truly understand why your current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were back then. And I do so apologize on behalf of an entire, massive generation of Baby Boomers and their parents for being so un-green and thoughtless about how our wastefulness would one day turn the world into the depleted, scabrous wasteland that you all now have to so mightily deal with.

Now go on ‘n’ get outa here, kid—ya bother me.

Most Sincerely,

Not

~~~~~

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26 Comments

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  1. Barbra Kelser / May 8 2011 6:02 am

    You tell ’em Old Silly!! LOL …

    • theoldsilly / May 8 2011 6:06 am

      Will do – always! 😉 Have a great Mommy Day, Barb!

  2. Stanley Berber / May 8 2011 6:04 am

    Yeah, so much stock put into being ‘Green’ but if you look at it, previous generations consumed far less energy and produced less waste than current ones.

    • theoldsilly / May 8 2011 6:08 am

      Yes, and while of course the green movement is important and we should do all we can, the comparison of consumprion and waste rates is significantly tipped in the older generations’ favor, hmm?

  3. Cactus Annie / May 8 2011 6:12 am

    Fun one today, Old Silly. 🙂 Guess you told that little upstart! Teehee. Seriously though, Green is good, just don’t lose your respect for the elderly – who were often so ‘naturally green’ without even thinking or calling it that!

    • theoldsilly / May 8 2011 6:24 am

      Yuup. “Naturally Green” – I like that – think I’ll start a movement!

      Teehee – happy Mommy Day to you and your family, Cactus!

  4. John Standish / May 8 2011 8:09 am

    “Miss T Akin” – Mistaken, lol, love the clever play there, Marv. Good points made to go along with the satirical humor. Have a great Mom’s Day!

  5. Mary / May 8 2011 8:20 am

    You hit the nail on the head with this one. (Did you use a hammer or a nail gun?)

    • theoldsilly / May 8 2011 12:26 pm

      Why, back in my day, we were real men – we spit the nails in ‘n’ sunk ’em dead! (wink)

  6. ReformingGeek / May 8 2011 8:58 am

    I see both sides. “We” developed all of those things that suck up energy and pollute our earth. When industry brought us all of those time-saving and convenient devices like clothes dryers, we didn’t push them away. We also didn’t put plans in place to reduce our reliance on crude oil.

    Sigh.

    • theoldsilly / May 8 2011 12:28 pm

      You’re right of course, Reffie – we were less of consumers, true, but also not very good at foresight as things developed, hm? But hey – this post was just more in good fun, teehee. 😉

  7. Joyce A Anthony / May 8 2011 10:53 am

    We were such a unenlightened generation, weren’t we???

  8. eurobrat / May 8 2011 11:57 am

    Regardless of how you feel about the green thing, such bad customer service from the store clerk….does he want his customers to come back?

    • theoldsilly / May 8 2011 12:33 pm

      Yeah I know – I’d be like, excuse me, you little brat!?

  9. Arlee Bird / May 8 2011 12:03 pm

    Ain’t it the truth though! I don’t know if today’s generations could handle the simpler, more self-sufficient times of the good old days. Of course I don’t know that I’d like it all that much either. Sometimes it ain’t easy being green.

    Lee

    • theoldsilly / May 8 2011 12:36 pm

      Shh – don’t tell anyone I said this, ok? But I wouldn’t really wanna go back either. But you didn’t hear that from me, got it?

      But at the same time, I wouldn’t want to trade my younger years in for a replay in this age. I enjoyed playing outdoors, not having a phone or pager on me so I could be lost in my imagination in the woods for hours, it was a fresh freedom that I think our society has for the most part lost touch with, hmm?

  10. Online Blogger / May 8 2011 12:28 pm

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  11. Margot Winston / May 8 2011 12:41 pm

    I’m with Eurobrat – I’d NEVER go back to that store! LOL, fun post though, Old Silly – lots of truth here. 🙂

  12. Alex J. Cavanaugh / May 8 2011 1:22 pm

    You put it all in perspective, Marvin!

  13. Connie Arnold / May 8 2011 2:12 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how many changes there have been in our lifetime? We are sure spoiled with modern conveniences, but it’s nice to reminisce about those “good old days” before we became “green”!

  14. AmyLK / May 9 2011 10:19 am

    You are so right! I have forgotten about the “recycling” of previous generations. I have grown up in the era of disposable things. Its time we went back to the right way of doing things!

  15. AK / May 9 2011 10:53 am

    Straight to the Point. This is one of the few reason why I respect your Generation Bro.. Thanks for this! 🙂

  16. Ron Berry / May 9 2011 11:46 am

    Many good comments today. I’ve seen this before and as a member of the not green baby boomer set, I defy anyone to explain recycling since our way did not involve a landfill. It was our generation that developed the ideas that the modern ‘kids’ take for granted.

  17. Enid Wilson / May 10 2011 3:04 am

    I think convenience and big multinational companies may have a lot to answer for. For example, it’s so difficult to rent an office where I can open a window in CBD.

    Chemical Fusion

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