“Ain’t litter. It’s raccoon food:” Bob Grump.

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….

Ed Abbey

Ed Abbey

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…

"Whoa. What's this..."

"Whoa. What's this..."

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.

8 Responses to ““Ain’t litter. It’s raccoon food:” Bob Grump.”

  1. Joel Wilcox says:

    Littering was Abbey’s blind spot. Throw the food (or “food”) if you want to, but some animal could eat the packaging and get hurt. Also: Some roads are obviously necessary, and they look a lot better without trash.

  2. Marc D. says:

    Excellent post on Ed Abbey. Very illuminating and enjoyable. I’ve promised myself to read his work…

    In the sad news column, I read today that Borders may start liquidation proceedings by Friday as they go out of business. A sad day for people who read, and for America in general.

  3. Abraham Zion says:

    Dear Editor,
    Is it not unseemly to disparage Rambling Robert as a possible closet tippler in the forewords to this elegant elegy on Abbey? After all was it not Bob who authored the now famous Grump Doctrine of Avian Taxonomy, esoterically known as “Stupid Bird Names?” Bob is consistently in character, albeit bizarre.
    I’m just sayin’. . . . .

  4. Oreos aren’t any better for raccoons than they are for people.

  5. Ron Heard says:

    “And if anybody doesn’t like it, screw ‘em…”

    Otay… Raccoons don’t need junk food any ore than humans do, but if you’re going to do this, at least toss your cookies and keep the packaging in the car. I’ve cleaned enough roadside ditches to know the packaging will still be here when the cockroaches inherit what’s left… So scew me, I guess!

  6. Rich Willott says:

    Same response here – throw all the food you want, it won’t hurt anything and may be a pleasant surprise for some critters. But DO NOT throw garbage, trash, and crap from the car – that’s just plain stupid. I am a birder, a military veteran, and a retired law enforcement officer and I’ll still chase down anyone I see doing such a disgusting thing. There’s nothing good about roadside litter – and if anyone disagrees with me, screw ‘em!

  7. R. (Bob) Grump says:

    About those comments….Two-Fisted Birdwatcher has tossed ‘em to me like a handful of hot potatoes, since I wrote the damn guest essay. They wanted to know if I had a response, and I do. I like ‘em. I think everybody’s right on. I’m glad my rant pushed some buttons. And I gotta laugh, thinking about how Ed Abbey, innocent bystander that he is nowadays, being long gone and all, can still get a rise out of folks by saying something unexpected. I believe he liked to stir the pot this way when he was alive and kicking. But in the cool dry light of day, it’s honestly good to know that people will still speak up when somebody says something or does something that they feel ain’t right. It’s the American way & Abbey was all for it. So am I.
    Yours truly, Bob Grump

  8. Aron says:

    Dear Bob,
    I understand what you are trying to say, but I disagree with your actions. Besides the obvious misdeed of not disposing of garbage properly (the wrapper or box is without a doubt an eyesore, even in a roadside ditch, not to mention dangerous to wildlife and disgusting to those of us that share the world with you), it is also unfair to the racoons and other animals for you to “feed” them with your litter. First of all, it can cause them to approach the road, which endangers not just the coons but also birds that come to feed on roadkill. Also, it can’t be healthy for animals to eat chocolate or proccessed junk that is common in people food. Just because they don’t complain doesn’t mean its not hurting them. I think its wrong, and I’m sure the majority of the people out here will agree. But its a free country, so do what you like… that’s the American spirit!

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