Getting Real

Getting Real

This “prose poem” below was written in a rush of despair the morning of the autumnal equinox upon hearing a radio report the temperature could reach 100-degrees in the Louisville, KY, metro area that day. Various titles I’ve considered for it include “If the Shoe Fits…” and “Which Shoe Fits You?” and “Get Your Gloat On” – whatever it’s called, it’s long past high time to start calling some of us so-called ‘70s “pessimists” by our true identities: REALISTS.

Okay, all right. Gotta admit, you got us good. I’m talking to YOU, the
loud, materialistic majority who smirk at us bent on our bicycles or
cramped in our compact cars as you cruise around in your roomy,
gas-guzzling SUVs and minivans. Who scoff at all the extra time and
effort we take to recycle and compost over the decades while you fill
the ground with your mounds of trash. Who luxuriate in your long hot
baths and chuckle at us shivering in our stream-off-when-soaping
showers. Who fill up your swimming pools and hot tubs with utility rate
breaks while we use collected rainwater on our locavore gardens. Who
sneer at the “eyesore” of clothes hanging to dry on lines while you run
your w/d’s for that one pair of jeans you just gotta wear tonight. I
could continue ad nauseum with this laundry list of compare and
contrast, but you get my drift.

So now when it’s 100 degrees on the first day of autumn and natural
disaster after natural disaster follow upon the heels of man-made
disaster after man-made disaster, you get to gloat about us all winding
up together in the same oil-filled boat after all. You can smile smugly
to yourselves and think, “Tree-hugging suckers! At least WE really lived
it up and enjoyed the spoils of the planet before we spoiled it for
everyone!  Ha-ha! You took all that extra effort and sacrificed creature
comforts for decades, yet in the end you won’t suffer any less from our
selfishness just because of your responsible behavior. You just bought
us all a little more time to party on. And besides, we’ll just crank up the
A/C even higher and go take a dip!”

But here’s a truly sobering thought for consumerists who have done
little-to-nothing as stewards of this great Earth: If not your children,
then your children’s children, and whatever generations may survive
beyond that, all still alive will curse you and your lethal legacy left to
them with every labored breath they try to take.  And the band plays on
with Nero on first violin….

Kathleen Martin
New Albany, IN
September 23, 2010

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