By Bob Grump
(The following is another guest essay sent in by a guy out there with the obvious alias, “Bob Grump.” We have no idea who this dude is, but he has ideas that we like…sometimes. This time he rambles a bit, and there’s a suspicion around here that he might’ve been hitting the sauce. Anyway, here’s Grump’s take on roadside litter, and it’s not all garbage…)
Ed Abbey, late guru of “save the planet” sentiments, lover of wild places, bird watcher, vulture admirer (his reincarnation choice), author of The Monkey Wrench Gang…
…angry young man, angry old man, essayist and aphorism writer…
…fly in the ointment, bearded, sun burnt, combat-booted, river-rafting, forest-walking spokesperson for the wilderness and disliker of the civilized destroyers of the wilderness…
…would-be saboteur of concrete ugliness and river-damming engineering….the guy who walked canyons knowing mountain lions were tracking him…the guy who’d go for hundred-mile hikes in the desert, hoping to find water or die….
The guy who wrote about all this in a bookshelf full of good books, and who now has another bookshelf of fair books about him, written by admiring followers and new-coming literary analysts…
…the guy who had the gunsight eyes of a hawk, even toward the end of his life…the guy who encouraged the pulling up of surveyors’ stakes and burning down of highway signs along desert roads…the guy who believed in disobedience for the sake of it….
…the guy whom nature nuts revere, even now that he’s sorta long dead…this guy had written in his book of essays, “The Journey Home,” the following eye-opening sentence:
“Of course I litter the public highway. Every chance I get. After all, it’s not the beer cans that are ugly; it’s the highway that is ugly.”
After reading that, I have a whole different attitude about throwing stuff from the car. Not beer cans. Hell, when I drink, I do it some place other than my car.
But that’s ‘cause I’m not the he-man that Abbey was. If I’m a two-fisted birdwatcher, and you better believe I am, he was something more…
…a two-gun birdwatcher, perhaps. I know he liked to shoot, and owned a good, old American revolver, cowboy that he was.
Still, I have been given a license to litter by Abbey, and I do it. Here’s how…
I eat stuff in the car as I drive. A Subway sandwich (too long to finish). A bag of chips. Just tonight, a box of Oreo cookies.
The cookies were a rare treat, something I was entitled to because I’ve been getting skinny lately, the result of too much exercise and not enough junk.
Hell, I’m bony. And although I like being as studly looking as I was a million years ago in high school, I figure it’s not good to get too bony, so there I was chomping into Oreos.
But after five or six, I lowered the car window and tossed the rest as fast and far as I could into the roadside weeds. I didn’t think I was littering. I thought I was surprising a raccoon that was soon to become very happy.
And I figured Abbey would approve. After all, my highways aren’t paper-free anyway, and a cookie box won’t destroy the world. But the food inside it would make animals think they’d tasted a bit of heaven.
The flavor. The fun. Hell, the energy-building nutrients. I felt good sharing these. Abbey, in the guise of a vulture overhead felt good, too. At least that’s my take on it.
And if anybody doesn’t like it, screw ‘em, and let ‘em talk to the roadside raccoons about this.