ONE LESS BAG
I’ve talked about this before so if you’re bored and stifling a yawn I can’t say as I blame you, but this $&/t’s important so listen up anyway. Years ago, as a kid working the register — the kind where you had to figure out the change, not the kind where it figures it out for you — at my parent’s convenience store, I got to know the regulars, people who came in everyday for their coffee, or a donut, or a pack of gum or smokes every morning before work. Because they were regulars, I began to anticipate their needs and would often have the item ready for them.
One guy — probably a 40-something, but then he seemed ancient — would never take a bag for his donut, and despite however many other items he’d placed on the counter, he still declined my offer of a bag. It was summer at the Jersey shore, so he didn’t have coat pockets to stuff things into, yet it never seemed to bother him, and his resolve never sagged. Instead he said:
“If everyone took one less bag, imagine how many trees we would save?”
That’s all. He didn’t go on about what that actually meant – more trees (at that time bags were paper not plastic), more oxygen, more nature in the world – and I was only 11 or 12 so I didn’t ask, but I understood what he was saying and I knew it was important. This was around the time the Environmental Protection Agency was created by Richard Nixon and environmental awareness was still a relatively new concept; this guy was ahead of his time.
Despite my youth, the one less bag pronouncement imprinted my psyche, awakening a need to be diligent about saving things that can’t save themselves. So thanks, Mr. One Less Bag Man, for such stellar advice. I’m putting it to good use.
It’s Day 15 of the #AtoZChallenge. Tempest fugit.