So, here I am, chilling with the bros downstairs in the basement, downing a few cold ones at Mom and Dad’s house, and all of a sudden Mom starts acting like a real pain-in-the-ass and asks me to take out the trash. What the hell, Mom. I’m 23, for God’s sake. I have important college shit to do: essays on the gender dynamics of Kermit and Miss Piggy, PowerPoints on the sexual undertones of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Andy Griffith Show, etc.
Anyway, I go upstairs to take the trash out, and who do I see? My Grandpa. He’s a really old guy, like 67 years old or something. The problem with him isn’t that he’s old, it’s that he wasted his time on Earth fighting in wars and raising a family, when he could have spent his time holding picket signs at Waste Management facilities, raising public awareness of the ongoing conflict currently plaguing the trash industry.
Climate change wouldn’t be such a big deal, Grandpa, if you’d stop telling me stories about enemy brush fire and start recycling.
Why can’t we better utilize trash for our crumbling infrastructure already? I’m thinking public art made of trash, park benches made of trash, entire parks even. It’s genius. Or, ideally, abolishing the morally inept enterprise known as Waste Management, and allowing the homeless to pick up the trash, which would save, like, a lot of money, I think, and support free enterprise, which means that small business would grow while keeping the city clean as a whistle.
Our generation believes in supporting small businesses. And by the way, I don’t know if you knew this or not, Gramps, but Waste Management is the locus of all income inequality in the United States.
And that’s why I do what I do.
I’m out here putting my life on the line, making a difference, serving with my community college’s environmental club. We do more than raise awareness about climate change: last month we shut down a local farmer’s market for attempting to sell non-organic products.
But maybe, just maybe, climate change wouldn’t be such a big deal, Grandpa, if you’d stop telling me stories about enemy brush fire and start recycling. Everyone knows your Baby Boomer generation ruined everything and contributed nothing. If you'd thought twice about popping out kids like nobody’s business (ever heard of Margaret Sanger?), perhaps I wouldn’t have to live up to my parent’s high expectations and continually struggle to contain the humongous size of your carbon footprint.
I can only take so much, Gramps. I’ve had enough of your stories about napalm strikes “literally yards” away from you. First of all, I think a napalm strike would be a lot farther away than a couple of yards, idiot. Did you even pay attention in school? I’ve seen Apocalypse Now, I know what they’re like.
Another thing that’s been annoying me, Grandpa, are your music choices. I. Do. Not. Care. About. Woodstock. I’m not so obsessed about the past that I need to know everything about a lame-sounding music festival where a bunch of drugged-out bums danced to Crosby, Stills & Nash. I watched the documentary Scorsese made about it. Have you ever even seen a Scorsese film? Probably not. Anyway, it looked like Coachella minus the nipple stickers and chokers.
Coachella is way better, and Crosby, Stills & Nash makes me want to listen to Alt-J and drink a gallon of herbal cleanse. It’s USDA-certified organic and 85% vegan, and it leaves an amazing glow in my skin, so it has to be good. Also, Halsey makes Jimi Hendrix look like Jeb Bush–a total square–and Joan Baez makes me sleepier than an Anderson Cooper New Year’s Eve show without Kathy Griffin.
When Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, I was a little bit upset. When he said the current deal would be “unfair” to the United States, I was furious.
Do you want to know what’s not fair? That I have to listen to all of your war stories.
There are worse things than war, like the sounds of polar bears drowning because all the ice caps melted. Think about that the next time you start to tell me a story about sleeping in a trench in a South Vietnamese jungle. Like, every war ever could have been resolved if they would have been more environmentally conscious. Terrorism is really a struggle for resources, like oil, and no ideological conflicts are truly more deadly than ideologies that don’t reduce, reuse and recycle.
I know it sounds like I hate you, Grandpa, but when I say that your generation has done nothing to make the world a better place, I say it with love.