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Friday, December 20, 2002

Not Decorated

We have up exactly one Christmas decoration: a half-meter tall fake pine tree with fiber optic strands that light up. I think it's pretty ugly, but my wife likes it. She normally puts it up in her classroom, but it seems her kids this year are a little more rambunctious than usual, and she was afraid they'd break it.

I've just been awfull busy the past month and haven't had time to pull out our boxes of usual Christmas stuff. Now that I think about it, it kind of bugs me. I miss the decorations, many of which have some kind of story behind them. Maybe I'll put some up this weekend.

Never Be a Dirty Bird

When I was a little kid in the 1970s, the whole country seemed obsessed with cleaning up litter and pollution as well as conserving energy. I remember the "Woodsy the Owl" television character. Woodsy was a guy in big owl suit, only the owl wore a kind of Robin Hood uniform. Kids in the background sang this song:
Help Woodsy spread the word,
Never be a dirty bird.
In city and in the woods,
Let's keep America...lookin' good.
Hoot! Hoot!
Give a hoot! Don't pollute!

I was a highly impressionable kid. Woodsy told me to not pollute, and I obeyed. I also turned off all the lights in a room when I left, just like the energy-conservation commercials told me to. (It seems the United States pissed of OPEC in 1973, so they cut off our oil.) Turning off lights bugged my parents, who didn't like bumping into things in the dark.

Anyway, yesterday I was driving along the Interstate. That's I-71 running North and South on map below. Some jackass in the car ahead of me tosses a Big Gulp bladder-buster sized paper cup out his window. It hit the road right in front of my car and sprayed its contents in a mini-explosion.

That really bugged me because (1) it surprised me, not a good thing to have happen at full speed on the Interstate (2) Woodsy the Owl highly disapproves of littering, and the person in that other car clearly didn't give a hoot.

Our cars gradually came side-by-side, and I gave a scolding motion with my finger, then made a tossing gesture with my hand, to make sure they understood my pantomime.

I hoped they'd feel guilty about their littering, drive on and place trash in approved cans only. Then I noticed they pulled off at the same exit I chose. And turned left onto the same street.

Had I incited road rage? Would the other guy pull out a Glock and pop a cap in my ass? All over trash?

Turns out it was only coincidence--they were going in my direction anyway, because there was a large mall nearby. Hey, it's a popular destination.

Anyway, all of you should give a hoot and not pollute.

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