It’s like a generational-stereotyping—grouping an entire age group (two or three decades worth of people to be exact!) and then putting forth the argument that they share the exact same characteristics, the same tendencies, the same way of thinking and the same faults. Where the last is concerned, i have found that every generation feels the previous one (in some cases even the next one!) has been (or is) ‘selfish’ and hasn’t bothered to do anything about the environment! That was the understanding we had when we were teenagers ~ our generation was going to save the planet for those before us had brought it to the edge of ruin. The theme has continued over the decades. The issues remain the same, the slogans and action-plans keep changing ~ much like the reinvention of the wheel!
Perhaps that is why i so enjoyed this anecdote circulating on the internet. No one knows who wrote it originally but it does express the sentiments of many oldies who are told by the younger lot that their generation was not conscious enough about preserving the environment. To me even more enjoyable is the apparent use of rhetoric irony: the progressive cadence of “our generation didn’t have the green thing “ so reminiscent of that iconic funeral oration for Caesar by Mark Anthony in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” (for “honourable men” read “green thing”!!). For today enjoy the story~
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.The woman apologised to the young girl and explained,
“We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”
The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
The older lady said that she was right and then went on to elaborate:
“Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda 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.
But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.
We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store 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 then again, we didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.
Back then we washed the baby’s diapers 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 those days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But young lady you are so 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 (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 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 mail, 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 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.
But oh you have to admit, 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 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.
But what a pity we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the”green thing.” 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 burger joint.
And you~the current generation~ lament about how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then!
(And the punchline for the end~)
Remember, 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 calculate the change due without the cash register telling her how much!!