Today I went to town with the intention of spending a perfectly lovely day. Everything seemed to be going my way. At breakfast, I managed not to spill any milk on my trousers, I only misplaced the keys twice and the people on the bus didn’t seem to mind my presence as they so often do. In short, it was one of those days when you feel generous towards humanity. Then, something disgraceful and atrocious happened. It makes my hair stand on end to even think about it. If you are tender-hearted, I beg you to stop reading at once. It will only hurt you the more. What I am about to relate is simply too horrible to be put into words (but I will nonetheless try).
At 11 am local time, just I was leaving the library, I saw a man in an expensive business suit cross the street in a hurry and dump a banana peel before entering a store. Now, I haven’t yet decided what my position is on jaywalking, although I acknowledge it has all the potential of becoming a divisive issue during the elections. In any case, this is not the outrage I was referring to. What stirred up my blood in unholy fashion was the man’s shameless act of littering.
When you’re walking down the street and you see someone drop litter, kill them.
Bill Bryson (from a speech given at the University of Leicester)
He made a conscious decision to drop garbage outside the legally prescribed area (a.k.a. the trash bin) and didn’t even wince. It was done in cold blood. Now, why would a person who doesn’t appear to be entirely devoid of decency do such a thing? I admit to not being acquainted with all the aspects of human depravity, yet one would think that a normally functioning adult would possess some sense of inborn morality. And yet for some perverse reason, life continues to prove me wrong.
I propose to make a short review of random acts and evaluate their pro or anti-social bearing. For example, drunk driving is bad while saving pandas is good. Hate speech – bad, recycling – good. Reading poorly-written fiction – bad (or should I say 50 shades of bad), buying as many editions of Austen’s novels as you can reasonably afford – good. Clearly, I take a very objective view of social dos and don’ts.
Animals, for instance, are able to tell right from wrong (cool, right?), therefore I find it difficult to grasp why Homo Sapiens, the animal per excellence, cannot. Besides, littering is a criminal act. Indulge in the reading of the legal definition below (the courtesy of USLegal.com) and see for yourself.
Littering is knowingly depositing in any manner litter on any public or private property or in any public or private waters, without permission to do so. Litter is trash improperly placed so as to be a nuisance or health concern.
I suppose that not many will properly consider the danger of leaving banana peels on the ground. What’s the worst thing that can happen, you say? Well, the stink might attract all sorts of flying pest that will follow you around like a cartoon cloud (trust me, you’re not doing your self-image any favours) or it may cause somebody to slip and hurt themselves, which would naturally lead them to place a curse on you and your progeny and then what would you do? Good shamans are hard to find these days.
(Photo Credit: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BananaPeel)
Essentially, it’s a question of beliefs. I believe in preserving the natural environment, environmental heretics believe in unscrupulous contamination. Who is to say the latter does not lead to a fulfilling and successful life? I am. ME! Ergo, don’t litter.
As a result of the evidence presented and, in particular, because of my superior judgement, I hope all of you will think twice before trying to dispose of an object while in plain view. You never know when you might be observed by an environMENTAL fanatic.
(Photo credit: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/view/406103/)