George cleaves to the notion that “the natural man is an
enemy to God.” I favor the Buddhist notion that humans are innately good.
Evidence for my belief is dog poop. Even though the number of U.S. households
sporting one or more dogs as pets has risen exponentially in the past couple of
decades, the amount of dog poop left on city streets has declined. Signs have
been posted in many communities ordering people to pick up after their pooches—even
threatening fines for noncompliance. Still, I’ve yet to see anyone receive a
citation for leaving their pet’s poop on the sidewalk or a neighbor’s lawn. When
New York City passed a law targeting animal feces as a health hazard and pooper
scoopers went on the market, most of us caught on that our pet’s waste matter
is our responsibility. Of course, kids who walk dogs are exempt from civilized
behavior. They still believe that Mom or some adult in the sky will clean up
after them and their pets.
I think it’s time to extend cleaning up to include ourselves
and our kids as well as our pets. An astounding amount of trash litters
American streets and public areas most of the time. Obviously, few cities have
the funds to hire full time clean-up crews to pick up our water bottles, candy
wrappers, even disposable diapers. And nature can’t decompose trash fast enough
to keep up with our habits. We need an anti-littering campaign with signs
posted in our cities and suburbs—possibly saying: “Pick up your own litter. Mom
doesn’t work here.”
My dad told me my ex-stepmother
used to criticize him for taking their empty cups and burger wrappers to the
trash can at their favorite fast food place. “Just drop it out the window,” she
insisted. “They hire kids to clean the parking lots. You’re taking jobs away
from them.” Now, my stepmother is an extreme example, but I often see people drop
the Styrofoam containers from their lunch out the window after dining in our
church parking lot or along a shady neighborhood street.
I don’t believe people who drop trash from car windows or
fail to pick up after themselves and their kids following a soccer game are bad people. They
are predominately good people who just don’t realize the trash they leave won’t
magically disappear or be cleaned up by someone else. It’s time for a reminder:
Mom doesn’t work here.