Abstract Academic: Reduce, reuse, reconsider

There’s something I really need to admit. Something very embarrassing.

I really love bottled water.

I know, I know. It’s the worst thing to be into these days, like dog-fighting, or working for Rupert Murdoch, or being a Cowboys fan. But drinking bottled water is one of those nasty habits that I fear I can’t do without.

What’s worse than that is that I don’t even recycle the bottles. I could pretend to be some great re-purposer of used plastics, I guess. Maybe I could say that there were giant water-bottle sculptures of Greek gods and heroes surrounding my house (“…and on your right is Re-Cyclops, and next to him is the majestic Hera, thoughtfully captured in this sculpture as she spitefully turns one of her mortal lovers into a pile of unwanted Dasani bottles”). Or that I was making flip-flops out of recycled bottles and donating the profits to the Humane Society. Or that I had just bought one case of bottles back in the late ’90s, and I had just been sterilizing and refilling them since then.

But that would be a lie. I just chuck ’em, and my garbage sacks make crinkly, air-filled sounds as they fall from the can into the garbage truck.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who have flung the newspaper angrily into a recycling bin, refusing to read the column of such an irresponsible person. I don’t blame you at all. But I ask for your patience, because I am about to expose a nasty secret:

You’re all just as bad as I am.

Sure, it might not be water bottles, but you know what it is that you do. Whatever it is, it makes humpback whales sing the blues. Maybe it’s cigarettes. Maybe it’s idling away in your parents’ ’96 Ford Bronco in the aisles of a ‘W’ lot, waiting two hours for a spot to open. Maybe it’s leaving your heater on for your shih-tzu while you’re away from home. Maybe it’s clipping your fingernails at school (yes, that’s right, dude in my TBE class; it IS a disgusting thing to do in public). Or maybe it’s listening to Dane Cook albums. It doesn’t matter. These things all pollute the world equally, and we need to stop indulging each others’ dirty weaknesses and put a stop to things.

Let’s start a movement, right now, for people like you and me who are mature enough to realize that there is nothing pejorative about being called a “tree-hugger,” but who are uncomfortable eating a vegetarian burger. We can go ahead and start taking better care of our planet because, let’s face it, we just have the one right now, and NASA isn’t exactly perusing the real-estate market right now.

So, I’ll start looking for a solution to my water-bottle problem. If any of you readers have heard of some sturdier, more ecofriendly alternative to the plastic water bottle, I sure would be glad to hear about it. Right now, I’m just filling canteens made from the skins of baby harp seals.