My youngest daughter, Vicki, a died-in-the-wool vegan, has been on my case for some time now to become more environmentally conscious regarding my eating habits. Over time, she came to the realization that her attempts to “green” me were going unheeded as they fell upon the ears of someone who is absolutely convinced that a grilled hot dog on a toasted bun slathered in mustard, onions and relish is God’s perfect food!
Of course, never one to give up without a fight, Vicki fell back to her “plan B,” which consisted of extracting a promise from me that I would purchase only fresh organic vegetables and greens to be served for our family’s meals. As I was not quite sure what “organic” meant, Vicki patiently explained to me that they are foods that are grown without the use of man-made pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other bad stuff, and assured me that although taste is a subjective and quite personal consideration, I should not discern any difference between non-organic and organic vegetables and greens.
I could not find fault with her argument in this case, so on my next trip to Stop and Shop to pick up some needed staples, I made it a point to appropriate some “organic” vegetables. After wandering around the produce section, I finally asked a staff person where I could find the “organic” vegetables. The produce guy seemed just as clueless as I was, so I told him that I would be serving the vegetables to my wife and kids, and I wanted to know if they had been sprayed with any dangerous man-made poisonous chemicals, to which the produce guy responded, “No sir, you will have to do that yourself.” I went over to the canned food aisle and bought several cans of Stop and Shop brand “fresh” vegetables that were on sale 10 for $5.
Ever the optimist, Vicki surrendered her “eat healthier” approach and went into her “Save the Planet” mode when she gathered up and disposed of every single plastic straw I had managed to squirrel away in the house, replacing them with a set of six stainless steel drinking straws because they are reusable and therefore considered friendlier to the environment.
Shortly after the metal straws made their appearance, I learned of an incident in England, where a woman was carrying a mason-jar drinking glass and using a metal straw fixed in place by the lid. She then fell, and the 10-inch stainless steel straw impaled her left eye and punctured her brain, killing her. The medical examiner cautioned afterward that: “There is no give in the metal straw at all. If someone does fall on one and it’s pointed in the wrong direction, serious injury can occur.” Needless to say, the metal straws immediately went missing and were replaced by an abundant supply of brightly colored plastic bendy-straws and, before Vicki could register her annoyance with my actions, I simply told her that the health and well-being of my family would always take precedence over eco-friendly metal death straws!
I did not want to leave my daughter thinking she had totally wasted her time in her attempts to “green” me up, so I took her aside and reminded her that over the years, I actually have been environmentally active and aware as I have always steadfastly refused to use “black diamonds” (aka: lumps of coal) as the eyes, mouth and coat buttons for any snowman I built. Further, no matter how bad either Vicki or her older sister behaved during the year, I never allowed Santa Claus to introduce a stocking of coal into the Mahon household. I mean you have to give me credit for saving a whole bunch of carbon credits there!
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