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Suicide by cancer stick 0

Dear Bradshaw,

I had an apple for lunch today. How’s that for healthy, huh? Not a pastrami sandwich or a hot dog, nor a Big Mac or a Whopper, and no cans of Coke. Just an apple, you know = the piece of fruit Adam ate that started all the claptrap about sin and suffering. Anyway, the point of my story, and of this letter, is that a crazy thing happened when I finished eating it. There I was, on my way to a private lesson, holding the core in my hand and — being in the middle of Rome, surrounded by cobblestones, bricks and concrete — I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, the core I mean, where to throw it away. I wanted to toss it into a flowerbed or a bush where it belongs, to fertilize the soil, to give the seeds back to the earth from which they came, but technically that would have been littering, and punishable by a fine. Yet, what sense is there in chucking an apple core or a banana peel or lemon rinds into a trashcan to be hauled off to a landfill? That makes as much sense as buying a can of corn and then dumping out the corn and eating the can. Anyway, I was in a real crisis. When I finally did pass a bare patch of earth, I felt guilty and self-conscious, as if what I was about to do was wrong even though I knew it was right. Well, in the end, I chickened out and, waiting until I passed a trashcan, I threw the core in there. Crazy.

So that got me thinking about other nonsensical things like, for one, I find it completely absurd that we as a species continue to cut down trees and level rainforests when we could use more feasible and efficient resources. We’re literally pulling the rug out from under our own feet, aren’t we? And what about cigarettes? It seems ironic that people willingly addict themselves to the contents of a box on which it’s written: THIS STUFF KILLS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVERY YEAR. It’s suicide by cancer stick, and yet people pay — what is it? — three, four or five dollars a day to pollute the air, the earth, and themselves. (I just checked on the Internet. Currently, a pack costs about $4. For someone who smokes a pack a day, that’s $28 a week, $112 a month, $1,344 a year, which is money that could be better spent on a trip to Paris or Prague, or donated to organizations that search for cures to debilitating diseases, or that feed the hungry and house the homeless.)

As long as I’m on a roll, I’ll mention just one other thing = in many countries there are supermarkets on the corners of most major cities stocked to overflowing with food while right outside the doors people are starving on their feet and begging alms. Meanwhile, some of the people inside the store, shoppers, are fat, a few are very fat, and once in a while there are even those who are obese, and they’re spending money on potato chips, pretzels, cookies, candy and cake when they should be snacking on fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods (or not snacking at all). I suggest we figure out what percent of society is starving, and then add a feed-the-hungry tax to every unhealthy item we buy at the supermarket, let’s say one or two cents or something. I, for one, would be willing to spend an extra nickel every time I went to the market if I knew it was going to put food in a starving person’s stomach. Meanwhile, I don’t eat potato chips, pretzels, cookies, candy or cake.

I could go on, Bradshaw buddy, but it’s late and I’ve got to get to bed. I’m back to the grind tomorrow = a long day at work and, more than likely, another apple for lunch. Who knows though, perhaps I’ll have an orange, a banana, or a pear. Whatever the case, you know where it’ll end up… in a landfill, decomposing in a pit of toxic puke, and all because I don’t want to get fined for trying to save the planet. Save the planet? Is it really possible? Like George Carlin said, it’s not the planet that needs saving. It’s us human numbskulls.

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