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Yeah. You Didn’t Have the “Green” Thing Back in Your Day.

January 5, 2012

Several of my facebook friends shared this little meme-story on their walls recently. No author is attributed because fuck it, it’s facebook.


Borrowed ♥ “Checking out at the grocery store recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.” She was right about one thing — our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then…? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day here’s what I remembered we did have…. 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 repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. 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 she was right. 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 back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is 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 she’s right. 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 blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But 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. 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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then? Please post this on your Facebook profile so another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smarty-pants young person can add to this…”


How has this not been called out on it’s bullshit yet? Unless this shopper was 90 years old they probably had an electric dryer in “their day”. Also, I don’t know what grocery store they’re going to but I’ve been to hippie organic co-ops and nobody’s given me shit for not having a reusable bag.


Whatever. Here’s a more accurate portrayal of how this conversation would have went down.


“Checking out at the grocery store recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.” She was right about one thing — our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then…? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day here’s what I remembered we did have…. Back then we had mercury in our batteries and our light switches which we threw away into landfills because we didn’t have the “green” thing back in our day. In fact, we let school children play with mercury in science classes with their bare hands! We didn’t have hybrid cars, we were lucky to get 15 miles to the gallon but we didn’t bother to think about it because gas was so cheap. The gas also had lead in it. Our house paint also had lead in it because we didn’t have the “green” thing back in our day. The Grand Canyon was so choked with smog you couldn’t see across it because she was right, we didn’t have the “green” thing. Back in our day we dumped 20 million gallons of herbicides and defoliants on the jungles of Vietnam killing not only a ton of vegetation but people, birds, animals, whatever because we didn’t have the “green” thing back in our day. We sprayed our food crops with DDT and fished the blue walleye into extinction because we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. Back in our day Lake Erie was so polluted that it literally caught on fire because we didn’t have the “green” thing back in our day. Isn’t it completely plausible that the current generation laments on how wasteful we were because we didn’t have the “green” thing back then? Please post this on your facebook so another self absorbed nostalgia addict baby boomer can realize that older is not, by default, better.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Maggie permalink
    January 5, 2012 11:25 am

    Younger generations will always criticize the older generations (and vice versa) no matter what. The difference in perspective is interesting.

  2. January 5, 2012 11:59 am

    I am so with improving our environment, but the word “green” makes me want to drink Draino every time I hear it. Both generations are to blame and yes we shouldn’t assume water HAS to come out of a bottle, it’s a little silly.

  3. January 5, 2012 12:24 pm

    A few things:
    1) If the little anecdote is true (which I doubt), then the clerk is an obnoxious brat.
    2) The writer repeats “we didn’t have this green thing back in our day” as though she’s throwing the words back in the clerk’s face, when in fact they’re the writer’s words.
    3) You should seriously consider unfriending anyone who who post something that’s so thoroughly obnoxious from start to finish.

  4. Ulla permalink
    January 5, 2012 1:55 pm

    Every one of those old timey “green” things was done because it was cheaper or the only thing available. Many of them are no longer cheaper options, and there is virtually no chance that this codger currently does half this stuff. In fact, bringing your own grocery bags is era appropriate for most of that list! The holier than thou, it burns my eyes!

  5. Karen permalink
    January 5, 2012 10:11 pm

    Yeah, what Andrea Anderson Edwards said.

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