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Story ID:2434
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various usa
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ONE HUNDRED BILLION PLASTIC BAGS! That's the astronomical figure
John McCormick quoted in his feature on CBS Sunday Morning re the
use of them each year. They, plastic bottles, and all the plastic packaging
we use end up in the landfill with a life expectancy of 1,000 YEARS!

Something seems awfully wrong here and why aren't we doing
something about this? Sadly, I believe greed and profit motives as always
rear their ugly heads and who is willing to lose money in the interests
of being green?

Thankfully, one city -San Francisco is trying to do something about this.
They are the best recycling city in the nation, but even they realize that
recycling plastic bags is a lost cause. The bags cost only a penny but 17
cents to recycle, so they reluctantly truck them out to be buried in a land fill.
Re the question in the grocery line check out --paper or plastic? the correct
response per a green specialist should be NEITHER. We should bring some type
of canvas bags or the new bags mentioned which are not made from paper
but are disposable and are "earth-friendly."

I've been blessed to have lived in the early part of the twentieth century
which they reported was a time of little waste and garbage! The Paper/rags man
picked up paper, scrap metal, and rags. Even manure found a place as fertilizer
and so this time period was one of little waste. I still keep my old clothes, rags,
and old tools in the hopes that the Paper/Rags man will come again to pick them
up. Of course I'm joshing, and he won't, but maybe my old tools can be taken to
a junk yard. Maybe Goodwill still collects old clothing, threadbare furniture
coverings, etc. which can be sold and shipped out as rags. I try to do my part in
living green but I have little hope for most of us who have grown up in a throw-away
society. You just have to walk down the street on garbage collection day and see
what a wasteful people we have become.

As for the "petroleum-wrapped" water most Americans now buy, San Francisco
wants to ban them. Plastic bottles are easier to recycle than plastic bags but
this best recycling city in the nation finds we shouldn't have to use oil in this
wasteful way. Furthermore a lot of plastic garbage finds its way into the ocean
where many poor birds have died from ingesting it. Even those ringed tops on 6-
packs of soda have caused seals and other small animals to be strangled by them.
They should always be cut apart before disposal. Better yet, they should not even
be manufactured anymore!

Maybe, one day we will reach the point of no return but I hope I won't be around.
It maybe a too-little and a too-late awakening. But still I can hope that other cities will
follow the vision and example of San Francisco and we will address this very serious
problem as a nation soon- please God.

done some simple cleaning during this time period but this apartment which is labeled
UpS versus its neighbor UpN was vacant because the last occupant left a bad taste
in my mouth - a very bad one. I surely could have used the money from renting it

In 1995 Nacer, a Muslim from Algeria who was looking for an apartment was
recommended to me by a fellow Muslim employee in the City of Cleveland where
we both worked. After meeting him, I initially had reservations because he was not
satisfied with only a bath. I told him I could put in a shower kit. So, he agreed to rent
it and soon moved in.

I couldn't believe what happened the first day he settled in. He took a hand-held
shower sprinkler and took a "shower" in the tub- sans curtain! The streams of bouncing
water began to trickle down to the room below the bathroom. I couldn't believe my eyes.
As soon as I could contain myself, I went upstairs and told him to come down to see what
he had done. I think he got the message that this was not a smart move.

Then after a year I told him that I would like him to seek other accommodations.
However, he pleaded illness and could I reconsider. I did- to my chagrin because
a couple months later he called me up and showed me an aluminum pot with a little
water and some sediment on the bottom. He insisted that "my" water was making
him ill. I HAD to get the water tested- not will you please get it tested?

I was irked but got the first drawn water of the day per lab instructions and paid the $25
dollar fee. They sent me a report showing my water was as pure as any in Gr. Cleveland.
I gave him a copy, thinking this would be the end of it. IT WASN'T. He called the lab
to report that I was trying to poison him! Well, finally I realized, this guy had to be
evicted. I didn't need him or his rental money that badly. As the eviction period was
coming to an end, he vacated the apartment and I BREATHED A HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.

Well, now I found myself cleaning this apartment because a former renter who was the
complete opposite of Nacer was seeking a small apartment. I thought I would never rent
it out again but for "Weegie" I would. People like him made up for people like Nacer.

Well, the apartment not only needed cleaning but all my "junk" needed to be carted
off. I had used the apartment for my computer for a couple of years and found Dell and
other computer materials there. I even found a picture scrapbook with templates, little
shears, glitter, and all the rest to make lasting memories of my life. Well, so much for
unfulfilled ambitions.

I had done my tax return upstairs as well and found a few years of returns and receipts
which I had to box and remove. The only thing which pleasingly surprised me was finding
a lovely wine-colored pants suit which I wore to church this past Sunday. I also found a
lot of wire hangars and Goodwill says they don't want them. I hate to throw them away
but who could use them? I wish that dry cleaners would take them back! Well, at least
now with a new renter - my "junk" is gone - well, not really gone just placed elsewhere.
Yes, I'm working on it!

(Re Nacer, he still seems to haunt me. I have been getting phone calls from I believe a collection
agency because Nacer had given them my phone number! Thankfully, I'm not too concerned
but wonder how savvy this agency is. They called me at least 10 times so far despite my
telling them what he did. However, I believe they have finally stopped.)

LIFE IS PRECIOUS TO ALL I often think of Isaiah's prophecy about a peaceable
kingdom where the lion and goat lie side by side, where a child can play with an
asp, etc. But I also believe that I am a small part of this peaceable kingdom because
I am not a predator. I belong to a class of animals who are NOT PREDATORS AND
ARE VEGETARIAN. To this class belong the elephants, cows, goats, giraffes, rabbits,
horses, etc.

This morning as I started for my little walk before liturgy, I found a squirrel near
the curb lying still in death. I think I probably helped keep him alive during the
winter months because I often found him or her eating sunflower seeds with the pigeons
or picking up the fallen bird seed from the feeder. Not knowing how to tell gender, I will
simply refer to the squirrel as a "he." I cannot understand how we could have let
grammarians characterize an animal as an "it" - a thing. Anything which has life,
breathes, and has gender IS NOT A THING.

I was sad to see him there and went home for a plastic bag and some paper toweling.
I would cover him up with the clean shavings I use for my cat's litter boxes in the basement.
I think squirrels too are vegetarian. They can be pesky, but it's part of their nature
in the pursuit of food. One tried to gnaw away at the plastic garbage can of bird seed
I had on the porch. He did enough damage that I had to get a new one. I looked for
an aluminum can but Home Depot didn't have any and told me that most stores don't
carry them anymore. As per usual - more plastic. We are indeed living in a plastic

This is a time when I wished I lived in the country. I would give my friend the
squirrel a proper burial. I feel that all life is precious and that all life should be respected
in life and in death. I find that not too many people worry about dead squirrels. One day
I remember driving my car and noticing a squirrel which was "splattered" on the street.
Obviously, more than one car went over him. I parked my car and was glad to find the
ubiquitous plastic bag on the tree lawn. I somehow scooped him up into it and and placed
him in the trunk of my car. I was glad that no more trauma would befall this creature
of God even though he was beyond feeling.

I have a love-dislike relationship with cats. Sadly, they often belong to the predatory
category though some of my cats I believe weren't of that ilk. I believed that Paulie was
a gentle cat but once I saw him ponce on a bird who thankfully got away. I let Paulie
out once a day because he likes the outdoors. However, this morning I found a dead
bird near the Blessed Virgin Mary statue in the front. I brought the bird in and showed
it to Paulie and said a loud "no!" I know that this will not stop him from doing it again.
However, it will stop me from letting him out. My little bird will find rest with the
squirrel I found today. Maybe some people will dismiss my actions as being foolish and
sentimental. Think what you will, but as we find life precious to ourselves, I find
that life is precious TO ALL GOD'S CREATURES.


SS. Cosmos and Damien should be well known to Eastern Rite Catholics. They were
twin doctors who were known as the "moneyless ones" because they practiced medicine
without asking reward from their patients. They were born in the latter part of the
Fourth Century in Arabia and studied the sciences in Syria. As Christians full of
charity, they practiced their profession but never took a fee for their services.

They lived at Aegeae on the bay of Alexandretta in Cilicia and when persecution began
they were apprehended. After many torments, they were beheaded. Legends abound
about them reputing to have appeared to sufferers in sleep -- prescribing for them or
curing them immediately. Two churches at Constantinople are said to have been built
in their honor in the early fifth century.

MICHAEL MOORE I think would have loved these two brothers. But then who wouldn't?
Of course, Michael Moore's movie SICKO seems to have struck all the right chords
re our poor medical situation in the US. I had had ambivalent feelings about him because
I thought he was too caustic in Farenheit 911, but seeing him on NOW this past Friday re
"Sicko" made me see him in a new light. So many things he said were so right and true.
For instance, a woman's insurer wouldn't pay her ambulance fee after an accident because
she had not "pre-requested" it. She wanted to know when she should have done this - while
enroute to the hospital?

He also visited countries with universal coverage like Canada and France where everyone
is taken care of. True, he acknowledged their coverage wasn't perfect, but he said why
don't we adopt the good things of their plans? He even noticed that the prisoners at Guantanomo
Bay have universal coverage while many in America don't.

I do place some of the blame on us. I think we want and expect too much. I remember
being the only one in my department at work signing up for Kaiser in the 80's. Everybody
else wanted Blue Cross because they could pick their own doctors! We don't want Canada's
universal coverage because we don't want to be on a waiting list, or we can't pick our
own doctors, etc. etc. We should just be grateful that we would have free medical
coverage. EVERYONE will get care and when expensive operations and procedures are
needed, we won't have to mortgage our homes to pay for them.

It makes me think too of some demanding unions. Kellogg moved out of Battlecreek, MI
after the unions demanded more and more to the point that the average worker was
making $25 per hour and had all the fringe benefits including medical coverage. How
in the world can we expect so much and not put the company out of business?

I think those of us who are satisfied with less are the fortunate ones. It seems that
the more we get the more we want. Well, I'm no longer in the "rat" raise and never
got my fair share, but that's okay because I'm okay. I don't see an I Phone, I Pod,
Blackberry, digital camera, etc. on the horizon because I don't have the money for
all these "toys." But the best part is that I don't want them. I love to think of the nun
who may have been Mother Teresa - going into a department store - just to see all
the things she didn't want! How blest and happy are those who need little!