Friday, May 27, 2016

142. My Theory on Why Things Are Getting Worse

I’d like to think that I’m not a raving lunatic. I’d like to think that my ideas are pretty normal. I’d like to think that my ideas don’t fall in with the tin foil hat crowd. However, I have a theory why our country is going down the tubes… (Well, I really don’t think things are getting bad, but if they do be noticeably worse, this is my theory.)

We do not put grocery store carts back in their proper place after we bring them to our car. Well, maybe a lot of us do, but those who don’t cause significant headaches for the rest of us. Things are getting worse because we don’t want to put in that little bit of extra effort to make life a lot easier and smoother.

This could go for lots of things. I see it at work with people who leave trash from their lunch near their seats. I see it on the road with people who just chuck their trash out the window. I see it in stores when people don’t want an item, but refuse to return it to its proper place. (Seriously, don’t put frozen food in some other section if you don’t want it. That’s awful.) I see it when people use the handicap access button for doors instead of just opening it yourself. (SERIOUSLY.)

I’m willing to give exception to parents’ dealing with whiny kids. If you’ve got a kid wailing, returning a grocery cart probably is not at the top of your list. However, if you’re just going out on a solo mission, you probably have time to put the cart back. You can spare a minute to make that happen.

I think this pressure to do something goes back to something my mom told me when I was in junior high school. I was finishing up eighth grade and I would be heading to the Conserve School (my environmental boarding school) next fall. My mom said something to me along the lines that if I was heading there, I needed to set an example. Think of it as a much toned down version of the “with great power comes great responsibility” speech. I really didn’t have great power, but I think I had a responsibility to set an example of something I claimed to be---a steward of the environment.

I remember standing at my bus stop at some point that year and seeing a piece of trash on the ground close by. My mom’s words went through my head. No one was looking, but I picked it up and put it into a nearby trashcan.

I know I don’t always put in that extra 10 percent effort. I leave things go when I’m lazy. I don’t always pick up trash. I let things sit for days without moving them. But I think if we all did a little extra, whether that is picking up an extra piece of trash, or going out of your way to make someone’s day a little bit easier, things will get a little better. It’s not always about you.

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