Littering

 

Littering is like cheating. Studies show that most of you  do it (75% according to survey data), but you’re too embarrassed to admit it because you KNOW it’s a shitty thing to do that you can’t justify… so why do it? I don’t need to know your answer, but you probably do.

“It’s somebody else’s job to clean this up,” is nothing but an anthem of laziness and dissociation. You may think, “My contribution won’t make that much of a difference,” but that’s what everyone is thinking, and that’s why there’s trash everywhere. Be responsible for yourself. Be present in your own decisions. Yes, that cigarette out the car window counts. Yeah, that time the wind blocked your three-pointer toward the dumpster – that’s on you. Go get it.

Every morning I pick up trash in a lot downtown in exchange for free parking (it’s not altruism, it’s bartering for benefit), and every single morning, without fail, that lot is filled with trash from the patrons of the surrounding businesses. There’s a giant dumpster in the corner of the lot, at most, thirty feet from any of the parking spots… but let me guess, it’s somebody else’s job? Mine? No, my job is minimizing the damage you cause by not doing your own job – everyone’s own job, who is able – which is to clean up after yourself. Didn’t our grandmas drill that into us?

Once, I watched a grown man (a veteran, no less – he let me know) throw both a cigarette and a gatorade bottle on the ground not ten feet from a trash can. I followed him into Target and calmly and kindly offered them back to him and suggested he might’ve accidentally missed the trashcan. He refused them, obviously, so I threw them into the little red Target wastebasket and started walking away down the aisle. He stood there and screamed at me down the entire length of the main aisle of Target, almost desperate for me to fight him, to the horror of everyone gathered at the checkout, and made an absolute fool of himself publicly, because he was embarrassed and backed into a corner (morally).

So, why’d he do it? To this day, I see that same guy in Target and Reasor’s pretty regularly, and he hangs his head in shame when we pass each other, because he remembers the scene, I’m sure. I hope he remembers it every time he’s about to throw his trash on the ground.

I’m pretty sure we all want to be the good guy in life, right? Well, I’m also pretty sure good guys, as a general rule, don’t litter. But hey, I could be wrong. Don’t be that guy in Target. Just throw your shit away.

 

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