Today a friend of mine e-mailed me this text. I don’t know who wrote it, but I want to share it. From one generation to the next.
Yesterday after shopping at our local supermarket, I was in the queue at the checkout and heard the young cashier suggest to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment. The woman apologized to the young girl and then sighed. “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”
The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. You folk didn’t do enough to save the environment for future generations.” The older lady said, “Ah, I see.” Then she continued.
“Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles and beer bottles to the shops. The shops then sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized and refilled, so those same bottles were used over and over, thus REALLY were recycled. But we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back in our days.
Grocery stores put our groceries into brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on their brown paper bag-covers. Too bad we didn’t do the ‘green thing’ back then.
I remember how we walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store or office building; walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go 200 yards. But you are right, our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’.
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 days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But you are right, young lady, we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in our days.
Back then we had one radio in the house — not a TV in every room. And if anyone did own a TV, it had a small screen, the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of a football pitch. When cooking, 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 by post, we used layers of 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. Sadly, we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then.
We drank from a tap or 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 blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. Indeed, we didn’t have the ‘green thing’.
Back then, people took the bus and kids rode bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s expensive car or van, which cost what a whole house did before the ‘green thing’.
Oh, and 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 leisure park!”
It is so sad that this current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then. I think you should forward this to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from some smart ass 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 smartass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.