Welcome! I'm Cookie's Mom. You can learn all about Cookie and why I blog here: About Cookie's Chronicles. If you're new here, you may want to SUBSCRIBE TO MY RSS FEED. Thanks for stopping by! Pull up a beach chair and be my guest, won't you?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Green Thing: email joke

I recently received this 'joke' (well, I found it highly amusing) in my email inbox and had to share it all with you.

The Green Thing
In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."
He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, they returned their 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 they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.
In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.
But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.
Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that old lady is right; they didn't have the green thing back in her day.
Back then, they 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, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; they didn't have the green thing back then.
They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But they 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 rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they 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 the old folks
were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?


  1. I bet that clerk was a young whipper snapper without a clue in the world on how to really conserve our environment...he probably just wanted to sound concerned and knowledgeable in front of his coworker who he secretly has a crush on.

  2. Cool post...and, yes...so true.

  3. I hadn't read this before, and it's so true! I am going to share this with all of my friends and families on Facebook, so I hope you don't mind me linking to your blog so they can read it here!

  4. Rachel, you are too funny.... and probably on the money.

    Barbara, it is pretty sad that the current generation is blaming the previous one when really we all just need to take responsibility for our actions now.

    Thanks Jen. I have never really considered things in this light so I appreciated this message too.

    K, I don't mind at all. I've been sharing it with all of my friends too!

  5. Um. Um.

    Oh, man. I don't think I've been That Guy, but I suspect I've had moments where I haven't been too far off.

    Thank you for this important, true and funny-but-sad reminder of what preceded "green as a movement."

  6. Deb, what was that Oprah said (or some guest on her show said and she repeated)? 'When we know better we do better.' That's probably always been true. In a couple of generations, we'll be admonished for the things we neglected to do. It's the cycle of life. ;)

  7. Yeah it was good back in the day. Back when nuclear testing was the norm. When our crops were sprayed with carcinogenic chemicals and houses lined with asbestos. When we were decimating populations of native species and clearing old growth forests, as well as introducing pest species like canetoads. When industrialisation resulted in ecosystems becoming dumping grounds for chemicals and waste. When trade friendly military dictators were selling off their countries resources and land to western corporate interests with a slash and burn policy. When our rivers and seas were being overfished and land being cleared to the extent that we had to introduce environmental protective measures and regulations later on to prevent mass extinction and desertification.

    Yeah it was really golden back in the day. We can thank old granny at the checkout for doing a fantastic job with managing things in such a sustainable and enviromentally conscious way.

    If you read this article and immediately agreed with it, without questioning it or giving it any critical thought or analysis - you are what's wrong with this world. Your ineptitude and gullibility is what makes it all possible. Pat yourselves on the back, and go back to bleating like good little sheep.

  8. Anonymous, you have some good points, but I think you may have missed one crucial one. This 'joke' (not an 'article') is meant to be a lighthearted look at how seriously we take ourselves and how high and mighty we may believe ourselves to be by simply attaching ourselves to the 'green' movement. It's true that change is often a good thing - we've done better - but we're also doing some things that make matters worse (some of them referred to in this email joke).

    In my view, blame and misdirected anger aren't going to get anyone anywhere. We need to move forward doing the best we can with what we now know. The people who offer constructive advice on how to do that will have my attention and support.

  9. That's a lot of anger, Mrs. Mouse. Do you mind if I call you, Anony? ;)

    Your temper aside, you do raise some good points. So does the "joke." A then-verses-now dichotomy is a mistake. Mistakes were made 50 years ago and mistakes are being made now. What's wrong with looking at everything and finding the wisest path for the NEXT 50 years? Maybe we should curb industrialization AND get out the old push-mower?

  10. Nicely said Sue and Niceman. There is a lot of anger in Anonys’ post, and what is sad is that they are unable to enjoy the humor of the joke intended. We all as a society try to correct mistakes of the past and make new mistakes in the process. It’s a circle of live thing. Hind sight is 20/20.

    Now, Anony, go put your nose in the corner until you can find some ‘joy’ in something.


  11. Great joke.

    Greater come backs, Cookies, Niceman & ?wazi.

    Anonys point might be better received if it turned down the attitude.


  12. A fair point Niceman, and I completely agree.

    If it was inferred by any of you from my comments that I was angry, you're mistaken. It's a fine line, but I meant to be more dismissive in nature than the perceived outrage or indignation.

    I do not believe "The Green Thing" was intended to be a joke. From the tone used in it and the sentiments expressed, it could reasonably be deduced that it was intended as an almost ad hominem commentary.

    Why wasn't it directed at those actually responsible? Why wasn't it directed at manufacturers? Why wasn't it directed at governments? Why did it attempt to paint a picture of hypocrisy, when up until it became a necessity, governments and corporations had never been genuinely concerned with sustainable practice and environmentally conscious policy, except when it either benefited them or when they were pandering to outside pressure. Why was a cashier made out to be representative of today's greed and waste? Cookie's Mom mentioned "misdirected anger", which is ironic, because that's what this "joke" really is. Or maybe "misdirected disdain" would be more accurate?

    This "joke" only adds to the stigma that's being built up around "green" movements by a deliberate campaign perpetuated by certain parties with vested interests both in industry, and government.

    You might have found it amusing, but to countless thousands of impressionable individuals who read it, it's naivety is relatable to them. They find it amusing in the way that it reaffirms their ignorance.

    It was assumptive of me to conclude those who participate here could be automatically lumped into the "inept and gullible" basket simply because it was posted here; the law of averages has failed me and i've run into a rare example of seemingly intelligent people.

    PS. I'm really quite chilled out most of the time, but occasionally something like this "joke" will tweak a nerve and I 'get my rant on'.

  13. Well Anony, I can tell that apologies are not your strong suit. But that was a valiant try, now go along and play with the other kids. Try to watch where you step next time and keep your nose clean.

    Geez Sue, I am sorry you have some righteous indignation on your door step, let me get the bleach and help you clean it up.


  14. Linda, if we have a difference of opinion, that's ok, but why are you trying to deride me? Seems rather rude and unecessary.

    If you'd like to counter what i've said with a point or argument, i'd be more than happy to discuss these issues. Resorting to insult and condescension however, is demonstrating that you lack both wit, and the capacity for intellectual discourse.

  15. (I'm Niceman)

    Email and the internet in general is the worst form of communication. You can't hear the tone of voice. You're left to imagine the mood.

    Please forgive me for being frank, but I don't think many people would read the "joke" and take it the way that you did. Please consider that you MIGHT have been in a mood. (It happens to us all.) And that the mood may have colored things in a much more serious and malicious light than well, any of us read the original post.

    I seriously doubt that the OP intended any sort of debate to be the result from this. She clearly was simply telling a joke.


    P.S. Maybe my favorite scene in any movie was in the 1989 Batman movie, when Bruce Wayne wants to tell Vickie Vale that he's Batman, but she has to go and answer the door to let Joker and his goons in. He's left whispering and gesticulating at empty space, "I'm Batman. I'm Batman."

    "I'm Niceman!"

  16. Niceman, I wondered where your handle came from! I used to attend a lot of baseball games, and every time the bat boy would run out on the field to retrieve a bat I'd say, "I'm Batboy." ....no one ever laughed but me. I guess YOU had to be there. :)

  17. Anonymous, I've left your comments up because I want to allow you to have your say and because I appreciate that you have a message you wish to deliver, but I don't appreciate the tone of your first and third comments. Recognize, please, that what you are criticizing Linda Mc for is the same as what you originally presented here. You also resorted to insult and condescension. I think we've moved beyond that now though, yes? We can all just make our points without insulting each other. Agreed?

    I didn't think I'd need to defend myself here - I do believe my readers are mature enough to handle a joke about something that is, I agree, a serious matter - but perhaps it will help some. My friends will tell you that I am one of the most environmentally conscious people they know. I'm not perfect - I still drive to the store to get groceries instead of walking 50 minutes round trip with my son and a trolley full of food - but I do my best, I continue to try to do better, and I try to pass on what I have learned to others.

    Anonymous, if your comments have had any positive effect on me, perhaps it is this: I do believe that we all can do more to be kinder to the environment, and perhaps I can use this venue to speak to that on another day.

    This joke, in my opinion, does nothing to detract from our efforts to do better. I don't believe that it adds to any stigma that exists. On the other hand, ranting and railing at anyone who will listen without understanding their position on the environment is probably a good way to turn people off.

    Tell you what, Anonymous. If you would like to send a message about what we all need to be doing to be more "green", I would be happy to provide the venue. You can find my email address on the Contact Me page. If you write something, say a max of 750 words, outlining a number of proactive steps people can take today, I'll review it and post it if it's appropriate (meaning so long as the tone is appropriate for my site and that it presents helpful information for my readers).

  18. Anony,
    Rude and unnecessary is the way you come into a parenting platform with a bullying, condescending and arrogant attitude and assume that we are all mindless sheep. You were received in kind. I just treated you like a petulant child; after all it is a parenting blog not a political platform.

    This blog isn’t about pats on the backs and way to go there Mom/Dad, have you actually looked around the blog? Wait don’t answer that, I wish to have no further discourse with you. Good Day.

    Sue, I wish to apologize to you for all of this. I will refrain from now on.


  19. Exhibit A:
    "If you read this article and immediately agreed with it, without questioning it or giving it any critical thought or analysis - you are what's wrong with this world. Your ineptitude and gullibility is what makes it all possible. Pat yourselves on the back, and go back to bleating like good little sheep."

    Exhibit B:
    "If it was inferred by any of you from my comments that I was angry, you're mistaken. It's a fine line, but I meant to be more dismissive in nature than the perceived outrage or indignation."

    Good one Anony!!!
    Now that's a joke!


  20. Can't you tell the difference between cynicism and anger? As a rule I don't type messages when i'm angry, and what concerned individual wouldn't be a little cynical with the state of the world today?

    I attempted to bury the hatchet with my second comment, but unfortunately Cookie's Mum, I seem to have struck a nerve and the passive aggressive claws are coming out in response.

    It was presumtuous of me initially, or at least I thought it was, but with the previous few comments, I can't help but think my picture of bleating sheep might have been accurate.

  21. Anonymous, I agree that you struck a nerve, and unfortunately you've fallen a bit short in terms of repairing the damage. While I would rather we could all just get along, I can't do much about the backlash that your initially quite rude and condescending comments generated. You may just have to recognize that you made a mistake, ideally apologize, and then move on. In this last comment, you go back to insulting my readers, which is neither appropriate nor productive.

    I have so far been open to providing you a venue to make your points, but I'm not interested in the negativity being generated by this discussion. Again, if you have something productive to offer, please do so. Otherwise, it's probably best that we all move on. I don't think we are going to reach any kind of agreement here.