Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Just spent the 4th of July weekend with inlaws at their cabin outside of Bend, OR. Was about as relaxing as it gets. Limited cell service, no TV, right on a beautiful lake. Paradise. My wife and I rode our Harley's and my son drove his sister and the dogs. But on the way down I experienced a disturbing incident. It made me wonder what the hell some parents are doing when it comes to teaching their kids.

On our way out of Cle Elum, WA, my wife and I were following a "mini-van". All of a sudden some garbage flies out the passenger window. Looks like food. Pissed me off. Happened again. Pissed me off more. I mean we are around 40 years beyond the "crying Indian commercial", (remember that?) and there are still people out there chucking garbage from their cars? Well, the third time I lost it. I took the gum from my mouth, revved up to the passenger window, and pitched the gum in there as hard as I could without falling off the bike. It turned out to be a young ("college age"?) girl and the gum hit her in towards the back of her head. Bounced into the back seat. Probably a good thing it wasn't someone more psycho than me. There were a couple of other people in the van but I was bordering on rage and just focused on her. I yelled "Throw your fucking garbage somewhere else"! I think it scared the shit out of her. All she could do was repeat "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" over and over again. The fact that she looked terrified was another clue. I'm hoping she pissed her pants.

In retrospect, I should have yelled "Dispose of your waste properly". If she was stupid enough to toss it in the first place, she's probably stupid enough to think "somewhere else" means not in front of my bike. How anyone can in good conscious throw garbage from the car in 2009 is beyond me. I'm not talking about a cigarette butt or a piece of gum (although I'm not advocating that either). As nasty as that can be, it isn't really noticeable to the average person (of course there is the fire hazzard to be considered, don't throw butts). But a big hunk of food? A bag? Anything over the size of a coin really. That makes you wonder about the values we are teaching our children.

This happened to me once before. A McDonald's bag flew out a window right in front of my house. I took the license plate number. I was in an industry with the necessary connections to easily get the registered owner and address (although this information is available at the DMV for a small charge... at least it used to be). I'm guessing it was the guys daughter and her boyfriend. So I sent a letter to the guy (anonymously) letting him know what had happened. I also pointed out that in the unlikely event it happened again I was going to come over to his house and dump his garbage can out on his front lawn (yeah, I'm a real charmer, I know...). The guy was from an affluent neighborhood. I hope that doesn't tie in to an attitude that fosters littering. But I've often wondered how he handled it with his daughter. Did he blast her for doing it, or for getting caught?

So come on people. Not only do you need to behave properly when it comes to garbage disposal, you need to instill a sense of responsibility into your kids to do the same. I'm sure the good citizens of Cle Elum are very much like me in that they don't want your garbage littering their community. The deer and the antelope don't want to step on an half eaten Big Mac while they play. The fish don't want to dodge empty beer cans. You get the drift. Clean it up. The "golden rule" applies quite well here. Do unto others with your trash as you would have them do unto you.


Common Sense


  1. But if it was just "Food" and not paper or wrappers wouldn't the deer and antelope like chewing on a big mac....or apple.

  2. How many deer do you know that chow down on big macs?

  3. I think, "Throw your fucking garbage somewhere else" was the appropriate response. Good for you!