Note to readers: I’m on furlough this week, so please enjoy this lightly edited column I have already been paid for, written about 25 years ago. Aside from some dated references, I believe it still holds up for its environmentally conscious message. Hopefully, I will be back next week with a new column when I am getting paid again.
Today we will discuss the environmental impact of a disposable diaper on a size 9 1/2 Converse All-Star basketball shoe.
This may not seem as important as the landfill crisis the county manager so vividly detailed in his recent riveting newspaper guest column headlined “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Solid Waste, Part I,” but it was very important to me while hopping around a discount store parking lot and cursing babies.
(Note: The following column, intended for mature adults, contains very frank and explicit language like “poop” and “poo-poo.” If you have impressionable young children, please send them into another room to watch HBO. If you are offended by this column, please turn to a more family-friendly section of the newspaper, such as Ann Landers, who today discusses teen-age heavy petting and nude Jell-O wrestling.)
My significant other and I made the mistake on a Saturday in the Christmas season of venturing outside our home and tangling with holiday shoppers, who, in the spirit of the season, will smash a fellow shopper in the face with an elbow for chocolate-covered cherries.
I left the store after wrestling a box away from an elderly woman and wishing her a blessed holiday. I walked through the parking lot trying to avoid being backed over by cars with bumper stickers like “My Child Is Much Smarter Than Yours” and “Keep Honking, I’m Reloading.”
And then -- squish.
I failed to see the environmental hazard steaming on the asphalt. I looked down and there it was -- a disposable diaper.
I suddenly lost any desire for the chocolate –covered cherries I carried.
“AAAGHH!” I screamed.
My significant other thought I had either been hit by a rare December lightning bolt or had a particularly strong religious experience.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Baby poop!” I yelled. “I think I got baby poop on my shoe!”
I ran to the curb and scraped my shoe as quickly as I could. I found a patch of grass and began shuffling and sliding around, much like Curly from The Three Stooges. Holiday shoppers paid me no attention, so this was apparently a common occurrence in this parking lot.
“Take off your shoe and we’ll just burn it right here,” my significant other said.
Baby poo-poo is one of the vilest substances known to man. It is a mystery how small, cuddly infants who eat harmless crushed banana goo can produce something akin to nuclear waste.
Scientists, spending millions of tax dollars during years of experiments, came to this conclusion: It stinks.
I spent 15 minutes scraping and sliding around, finally confident that I had left all the offending matter on the curb and the bumper of a ‘93 Volvo.
The rest of the day I cursed the person who tossed a dirty diaper out of a car window. For that person and others like him or her, the world is one big dumpster and the shoes of unobservant strangers do not matter during the holiday season or at any point in time.
Perhaps in the future, 25 or so years from now, we will be a better society, one that does not pitch dirty diapers out of car windows in parking lots and believes in the science of climate change, one that respects the different views of others while politely debating political philosophies without acrimony and name-calling. Yes, I’m sure that’s the way it will be in the future when I am rerunning an old column while furloughed.
(Yeah, I added that last paragraph to the original column. It was coming up a little short.)
Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, NC and a humor columnist. Contact him at email@example.com)
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