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The middle, mind you 0

Dear Bradshaw,

While on my way to the metro this morning, I saw an old man struggling to remove the plastic wrapper of his new pack of cigarettes. After yanking it off, he tossed the wrapper on the ground and continued along the sidewalk as if the only thing that mattered was where he was going. No more than a minute later, a lady walking ahead of me fished a soiled tissue out of her jacket pocket and then dumped it on the ground — get this — two steps away from a trashcan. As if that wasn’t enough, immediately after, a middle-aged man with leathery skin chucked a half-smoked cigarette on the ground and then descended the stairs to the metro, exhaling a cloud of smoke on the way. On top of all this, two days ago I saw a kid spit a wad of gum into the middle of the sidewalk (the middle, mind you) and then check the time on his cell phone as if the dirty deed had been scheduled.

Jeez, Shaw. Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who cares about anything anymore. Of course, I realize I’m complaining about small stuff but I believe microcosmic actions mirror macrocosmic realities. After all, what is a war but a series of battles? What is a beach but an incredible collection of sand grains? In any case, it gets my goat to see people litter, and I don’t even have a goat. Bring on the bagpipes, buddy, I’m going to parade through Rome, straight to city hall, and march through the doors demanding something be done about this. It’s time to drive these blockheads back into the caves they come from, starting with people who walk their dogs and don’t clean up the doo.

But then again, pal, I don’t know. After all, I’m not Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi. I can’t change the world, and I can’t change other people. No matter what I do, littering lawbreakers will always exist, and since the most effective solution is for me to change my attitude, to change myself, that’s what I’ve done. Now, well, we’ll just have to wait and see if it works. Heck, the next time I see an old lady drop a tissue on the ground I just might run over and kiss her on the lips. Really, it could happen.

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