National Commentary

Johnny’s World: Taking a Stand

At a recent holiday party something unfortunate happened. I was introduced to, and later inadvertently reprimanded by the crunchiest, earth and creature loving, “I barely shower because I conserve water” kind of woman, ever. The party was of mainly Russian decent with their furs, beautifully prepared meat dishes and love of a good time and there was one sore thumb in the whole place, this woman.

She wouldn’t eat anything that our gracious host had prepared when there were plenty of vegan options available. She wouldn’t even accept a cashmere wrap from the host’s husband because it had been in close proximity to a ‘shuba’ (a fur coat). I couldn’t take the annoying soap boxing anymore so I took the reigns and started to clean up the party. The host family isn’t a separate trash receptacle for recycling sort of family, so I simply started throwing everything into the bin with little thought. It came down to the wire, I’d finished clearing and topped off my glass of wine from the bottle I’d been nursing all day only to throw the bottle into the trash and rejoin the party.

From across the bar I hear the mousy voice of the vegan, soapless, missionary reprimanding her boyfriend, a good friend of mine, about needing to yell at me and teach me the value of recycling even when in someone else’s home. Not a confrontational person himself, my friend promised to talk to me in a quiet place about the offending bottle. The woman, who is my age, then loudly opens the bin, and announces to the entire party how angry it makes her when people don’t recycle and how she will recycle the bottle herself and then she proceeded to head-dive into the trash bin and fish out the offending bottle now covered in cranberry sauce, cream and turkey gizzard.

This whole episode got me thinking, is there really a point in being miserable because of the shortcomings of other people in respect to your beliefs or causes? More importantly, am I an uneducated, heartless monster if I don’t care about the conservation of one wine bottle?

Causes are what make the world better. I for one am constantly impressed with the drive and determination patriots have when they are fighting for just about anything under the sun. The vigor and intensity can only be admired and you can try to learn from what these people preach. I drive a large, polluting SUV to cart around usually one skinny person and a big purse which I have been thinking of downsizing, so I carry reusable shopping bags, buy local and try to walk as often as possible to try to right the “wrongs” of my choices, even in a small way.

That’s the thing about a cause and taking a stand, you have to decide if not actually, personally curing AIDS is enough for you. Whenever I am fighting for a cause or trying to help someone or something in need, I think that if I can change even one opinion or help one person understand what I’m fighting for, then it’s a victory. One person can’t change the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest star on the planet or the president of the most powerful nation in the world, you can’t fix everything, however, one person can make a difference and they can start a revolution.

I will be forced to see this girl in the future, and I’m sure even wearing my fanciest Birkenstocks won’t save me from getting the stink eye. What’s unfortunate about her quest and the way she went about educating me is she made me want to litter more than clean up litter just to spite her.

Fighting for a better world is one thing and being a militant, crazy person who has nothing better to do than harass and belittle others to make a point is quite another. People are different, and it should be respected, not attacked. Not for nothing, you catch more flies with honey.