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Southern Eyes

We live in a world of double standards. Don't worry, I'm not getting philosophical -- I'm not qualified for that. The thought came to me today as I was attempting to civilize my sons. Actually, they were the ones who pointed out my own double standards.

For years, I have fussed if they leave their drink cans and empty chip bags on the end table. They always say their intention was to throw it away the next time they got up, but I catch them before that happens. In doing so, I usually point out -- with just a touch of sarcasm -- how they are only a few steps away from the trashcan. This is when they give me the world's greatest compliment -- "You are such a mom. "

These days, I have become eco-politically correct in recycling. Many weeks, the amount of trash in my recycle bin is greater than that in my trash can.

My sons have not yet caught on to what is and isn't recyclable. But they finally have mastered the habit of throwing their trash away. As has been the case since the beginning of time, a mother can't be pleased. Now, instead of telling them to take their trash off the table and put it in the trashcan, I'm telling them to take their trash out of the trashcan and put it in the recycle bin:

Mom - "Why did you throw this away?"

Son - "Because it's empty."

Mom - "It's also recyclable."

Thankfully, my sons have a sense of humor. Using my own previously-used sarcasm, they verbally count and emphasize their steps from the trashcan to the recycle bin. Their mother shares their sense of humor. Rather than being offended with the parade, she beams proudly that they are learning to waste-not. Just when I was priding my correctness, the world's double standard seemed to kick in.

I thought I was doing great to recycle junk mail, cereal boxes and plastic bottles. But that's old news. The emphasis now is on being "green." Everything is supposed to be "green," including laundry and dish detergents and other household cleaners. So, it would make sense that laundering one's towels is the correct thing to do.

But, the same companies who are making "green" cleaners are making disposable everything -- toilet brushes, dish scrubbers, floor mops and even hand towels. The emphasis here is on being germ-free. Instead of rinsing our toilet brush in the "green-clean" water and flushing it, or washing our hand towel in "green-clean" laundry detergent, we are supposed to use a fresh, disposable one every time and toss the used one in the trashcan.

Forgive me, but I'm totally confused. Maybe I am qualified to be philosophical after all.

Web posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010

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