Lee Pitts: The Green Game
My Grandpa wanted me to be a lawyer because as a child I was argumentative and always on the lookout for an easy buck. But I never wanted to wear a suit or be cooped up all day with crooks and ambulance chasers in some courtroom.
I still enjoy a good argument though and seldom do I let an opportunity pass to practice. Such was the case as my wife and I were ripping out our front lawn which I’d groomed meticulously for 25 years. Across the road two hikers, Mr. and Mrs. Greeny, got out of a hybrid SUV wearing spandex and hiking boots and unloaded two wolf-hybrids that eyed me suspiciously. I’m used to this because we live next to a huge state park where people like to hike. I don’t know why, because danger lurks around every turn with rattlesnakes, mountain lions and lost Sierra Clubbers all ready to pounce.
Stuck to the back of the Greeny’s rig was a bevy of bumper stickers like, Down With Dams, X-Rays Kill, and Honk if you Love Peace and Quiet. I knew their kind; they are watermelons… green on the outside but really red on the inside.
“Taking out your lawn to save water?” asked one of the liberal wing-nuts.
“Yes sir,” I said. “Instead of a water guzzling greenscape we are creating a better habitat for the red legged humpbacked salamanders. It’s the right thing to do.”
“Oh, we know what you mean, we took out our lawn years ago,” said Ms. Greeny. “We also got rid of the leaf blower and lawnmower to reduce noise pollution. But are you using any weed or bug sprays?” she asked, trying to one-up me in this little game the enviros play to determine who is greener. (First place means you get to be the guest speaker at the next monthly meeting of Earth First.)
“Are you kidding, see this cattle ear tag hanging from my belt,” I replied. “It’s the green way to keep flies and gnats at bay without destroying the environment.”
“But isn’t that ear tag made of plastic? And we notice you have a conventional automobile in your driveway. Did you notice our new hybrid?”
“Oh, but we hardly ever go anywhere to use evil carbon based fuels. We haven’t taken a plane or train trip in years and we don’t own a gas guzzling RV, boat or plane.”
“I hear you,” said Mr. Greeny, spewing forth a few sunflower seeds from the trail mix in his mouth. ”We only travel on eco-vacations like our trips to the Yucatan where we built shelters for the Blotched hooknose snake and Short-faced snail eaters.”
“Hey, you keep my family out of this,” I said as the discussion was beginning to get heated, probably as a result of man-made global warming.
“Say,” said Mr. Greeny, “is that water pooled under your car. Did you wash it?”
“Oh, no. We would never waste precious water resources like that. Our car just leaks. Speaking of cars, I see from that bumper sticker on your rig that you have an honor student in the family. Good for you but my wife and I don’t have any kids, feeling strongly that it’s not right to inflict another body on this fragile planet. If everyone would follow our lead there’d be no more evil human footprints left on Mother Earth in just one generation.”
“Well aren’t you special,” said an obviously overmatched Mr. Greeny.
“Yeah, and you could beautify our ecosystem immediately by staying indoors,” I suggested.
Checkmate. Game over. And that, my friends, is how The Green Game is played.
I was enjoying my victory when my wife reminded me, “You’re so full of it. We don’t hang the clothes on the line, go around in the dark, buy our clothes from yard sales, set our thermostat at 40 degrees in winter, rip out our lawn, or recycle paper towels because we’re green. We do it because you’re cheap!”
“Shhhh, I know that but they don’t,” I replied, pointing to the dejected enviromeddlers sulking away in defeat, so green they were blue.