Going Green

By Jeffery Cohen

Back in the sixties, a grassroots movement had begun to sprout. Flower children from San Francisco to New York City planted the seeds of peace throughout the nation, harvesting a bushel basket of causes in the process. One of those causes was the environment.

“The Environ-mentals,” a group of concerned and ecologically aware students at my college, decided to join in the celebration of Earth Day. They were determined to make a statement about saving the planet. I suggested planting a few apple trees. There would be flowers in the spring, shade in the summer and fruit in the fall. The group thought that my blossoming idea was a little bit corny. I suggested planting some marigolds and daisies around the campus. They dismissed that as a waste of time and money because they’d just be trampled over by the crowds participating in Earth Day.

No, they needed to come up with something wonderfully clever – something that would capture the spirit of the times; something bold and innovative that would demand people’s attention. At last, they had an idea. They would bury a toilet!

So, on Earth Day, a solemn procession of six pall bearers dressed in mourning clothes carried a toilet on their shoulders to its final resting place up on a grassy hill that overlooked a plumbing supply company. I guess the toilet would have liked that, bless its little commode. Lines of mourners stood around weeping for the poor unfortunate stone pony.

Now, maybe it’s me, but I was never quite clear on the significance of the toilet funeral. I’m certain that I must have missed something by not having been there when the final lid came down. Maybe if I had listened to just a portion of the eulogy it might have helped me to understand.

“Dear friends, we are gathered here to bid a final farewell, because life is just…a short shake of the handle.”

It seemed to me that kids in the sixties were just being introduced to Mother Nature for the first time. I had known her my whole life, thanks to my mom and dad. They both loved the great outdoors. As soon as spring’s green patches began to pop through spots of melted snow, Dad would start searching for young dandelions, carefully gathering up the tender leaves for salad. In summer, you could find him picking wild blackberries or standing ankle deep in a marsh, cutting cattails. In the fall, he would wander through the damp forest checking tree stumps and banks of fallen leaves for golden mushrooms. That’s when he would take a deep breath and say, “Do you smell that? It’s God’s country out here.”

My mother liked the outdoors too. You could tell by the “Great Outdoors” room freshener she sprayed throughout the house or the lemon scented furniture polish she used.

I tried to do my part for the environment. I didn’t litter. I recycled aluminum cans and returned glass soda bottles to the store. And, I argued with my mother over toilet paper.

“Jeez mom, you’re using blue toilet paper in the bathroom,” I complained.

“Isn’t it pretty?” she smiled.

“It’s bad for the environment. The dye gets into the water and pollutes it!”

“But it’s so pretty,” she repeated.

“That won’t matter when we have no more clean water to drink on the planet. I want you to promise me that you’ll get rid of that blue toilet paper.”

After considerable hemming and hawing, she agreed. The next weekend, I came home from college and found that my mother had kept her word. She did get rid of the blue toilet paper.

She’d replaced it with green.

About this writer

  • Jeffery Cohen Freelance writer and newspaper humor columnist, Jeffery Cohen, has written for Sasee, Lifetime and Read, Learn, Write. He’s won awards in Women-On-Writing Contest, Vocabula’s Well Written Contest, National League of American Pen Womens’ Competition, Southern California Genealogy Competition, and Writer’s Weekly writing contest.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave your mark with style

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close