The Green Thing


AWOL Blogger: It’s been a while since I’ve written a new post so I wanted to let you all know that I’m on a self-induced cyber-sabbatical of sorts…taking care of business as it were. I hope to be back shaking the rantz out of my pantz by the fall.

Have you seen this? I bumped into this article on the internet the other day, after a similar thing happened to me at the drug store. It left me in a frustrated blogger mood with no time to write a post about my experience – then I found this timely piece – not sure who the author is. I couldn’t have ranted it better myself! So the Duke of Url kindly allowed me to check it out of the cyber-library for you to enjoy!

Here’s the story:

At the cash register of 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. You didn’t have the green thing.”
She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink 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 recycling.

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 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, not a screen the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 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 wrapped 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 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 trucked in or flown thousands of air miles.
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, city people took the streetcar 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 computerized 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?

I guess I’m just another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person.


Don’t make old people mad.

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off.
Amen to all that!
Pat Skene

10 responses »

  1. This article was one of the “worthwhile” forwarded emails that I rec’d several months ago……….you think maybe we had it right “back in the day” ?

    I look forward to your next blog……until then…….enjoy your c.s. as you “take care of business”.


    • Thanks JJ. I don’t think we got everything right ‘back in the day’. But I guess you could say we were all pioneer recyclers – without knowing any other way of doing things. Always so nice to hear from you up there in the north.


  2. Very well said! The story covers a lot of ground and the points made are excellent! Great pick up, and, yes, ‘they’ don’t want to mess with the old folks!!!

    See you in September as the old song goes (if not before).


    • Hey Blanche! Glad you liked the article. I agree – we’re all cranky enough without some whipper-snapper berating us for ruining the planet. All I say to that is – look around! Thanks for checking in…


  3. I wonder what would happen if we went back to doing all of those energy and environmental saving tasks that we used to do? Could the new generation handle it? I don’t think so…..
    Really good story to think about and keep us all on our toes for the future!
    Thanks! Hope you enjoy your summer!


    • I agree with you Britt girl. We live in a world of instant conveniences, so there’s no going back now. But I do miss a lot of the things mentioned in the article. And although these reflections speak to a simpler time, introducing them today would be a much too complicated process. Thanks for your comment.


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