Now and then, a girl just has to rant. Since I’m certain none of my readers are litterbugs, my goal today is to help you see the error of your ways and begin to convert. It may seem unnatural, at first, to throw trash on the ground, but you can grow used to anything with practice.
Five days a week, weather permitting, I walk to work and back. Within that six-block stretch (which includes the Tupper Street overpass) sit two trash bins, provided by our fine City. I try to make a game of moving at least one piece of trash from the ground to the inside of each bin per trip. That’s four pieces per day times five days, equals 20 pieces of trash per week. I can usually accomplish this without leaving the sidewalk. From this little exercise, I gain tremendous feelings of self-righteousness and superiority.
Here’s my dilemma. By Friday, finding litter becomes more challenging. Sometimes I abstain from my game and sometimes I must take steps off my beaten path, which becomes really irritating. Over the weekend, I can usually count on litterbugs coming to my rescue, dropping more offerings and thereby affirming again my conviction that I am better than most run-of-the-mill citizens.
Littering just makes sense, although you may not see it at first. Most vices provide an obvious payback factor. People overeat because it tastes so darn good, or get drunk because it helps them escape for a while. Lying might protect one from recrimination; cheating on a spouse may make one feel attractive and desirable. But you probably think there is no reward in throwing garbage on our streets and sidewalks. That’s where you’re wrong.
It’s a matter of convenience, and convenience is highly valued in today’s world. It really is far more expedient to drop your trash where you are than it is to carry it ten feet further and put it in a smelly garbage bin, or—Heaven forbid—unashamedly hoard it in your car until you’re home. If folks don’t catch on to this, I could find myself stuck in a much cleaner community.
Thank goodness I no longer live in Texas. If you’ve ever visited, you’ve seen their famous “Don’t Mess with Texas” signs along the highways. In Texas, you can be fined up to $500 for trash up to five pounds—and yes, that includes even apple cores. Repeat the offense and you could face a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail. I don’t know what people like me have to do to feel superior in Texas. Volunteer at soup kitchens, maybe? Teach Sunday School? Sucks to be them.
Wherever you live, you can do your part to ensure do-gooders like myself never need to suffer the indignity of feeling average. Tomorrow is Halloween, a perfect opportunity to supply us with candy wrappers, empty chip bags, and pop cans with which to maintain our general holier-than-thou-ness. Please drop it liberally, and teach your children to do the same.
Because now and then, a girl just has to play devil’s advocate.