I suppose that people having accidents has been a foundation of visual comedy for many years - from the time of silent films and the proverbial banana peel; but in real life, people having accidents is not funny. I have had several falls that were just hilarious. Oh yeah. Hilarious. And I have the permanent injuries and scars to prove just how funny it was.
So actually no, I did not try out for funniest home videos, and I didn't fall (thank Heaven for small mercies), but had someone been following me yesterday with a video camera, they would have had few minutes of amusing footage watching me chase litter.
For the past several years, a continual source of irritation has been the litter left by the slobs who turn right onto Willow Road at the T intersection to get to 76 Highway. These people seem to think that Willow Road is their very own personal dump. We are disgusted by their lack of consideration for the land and for others.
Especially we are disgusted by the person we dub the "Beer Guy," because between 76 and the T-intersection, it is not uncommon to find most of a 6-pack of empty beer bottles along the right of way.
Not only is he not drinking responsibly, he is also not disposing of his empties responsibly.
We have spent quite a bit of time thinking and talking about this person. We figure he stops off at the package store on the way home from work and buys a six pack, and then drinks them all as fast as he can.
By the time he gets to Willow Road, he has drunk most of them and then he tosses them.
Or else there are two people in the car drinking the six pack and they both toss them. I suppose it is also possible that he leaves the house with the six pack in his car and then begins drinking and tossing as he heads down Willow Road to 76. And there is probably yet another possibility that we haven't considered.
Last week Richard decided to stop talking about how angry he is at the people who are littering and to start picking up the litter. We have a metal grabber doohickey so I can reach stuff at the back of the top shelf and it works well for picking up the trash. I suggested he make me a tool with a nail on the end so I could help him on the days when I walk with him. He did.
Yesterday he and I ventured out with our plastic bags and instruments of litter removal. We started off together but he decided to take a longer walk so I turned around at the intersection with the highway and began picking up the trash on that side of the road as I returned.
It was windy. The wind caught my half-full plastic bag and ripped it out of my hand and off it went, blowing down the road and everything I had picked up was back on the ground again. There I was chasing after it. Hilarious. I picked up the mess I had made. I went a few more feet and picked up some more litter, and dropped it again. I picked up all the trash again. And so it went. I did manage, however, to fill the bag and get it back home.
About the same thing happened to Richard on his walk, only even better, his bag filled with trash blew out of his hand and across the road right in front of a sheriff's car.
One of my favorite literary characters is Isabel Dalhousie, the creation of Alexander McCall Smith, who is a philosopher and edits a journal about ethics and philosophy. She spends a lot of time analyzing things in her head, which I find just delightful. In his first book of her adventures, The Sunday Philosopher's Club, she thinks
Perhaps somebody would write about the ethics of litter. Not that there was much to say about that: litter was unquestionably bad and surely nobody would make a case in its favour. And yet why was it wrong to drop litter? Was it purely an aesthetic objection based on the notion that the superficial pollution of the environment was unattractive? Or was the aesthetic impact linked to some notion of the distress which others felt in the face of litter? If that was the case, then we might even have a duty to look attractive to others, in order to minimize their distress....
Well, that certainly puts a whole new spin on things...