We’ve come a long way in just one generation. It wasn’t so many years ago that the nation was buried from coast to coast in filth: trash subsumed parking lots, fields and empty spaces, with refuse festooned along telephone wires and garbage lining the sides of America’s highways. In recent years, wiser and more proactive voices have been heard, and the West has finally begun the slow march back from the garbage-choked precipice upon which it had found itself.
But our commitment to a cleaner environment comes with a price. While the majority of the population derives huge benefits from these changes in the form of better health and therefore a longer and more enjoyable life, the change in sensibilities has proven devastating for America’s forgotten citizens, who see a cherished way of life coming to an abrupt and painful end.
Ask yourself: who is left out in the cold by the culture’s ecological zeal? How about those fringers who make their living by digging shit out of the garbage? A plethora of half-eaten Chicken McNuggets and Subway sandwiches will ensure that they eat, but where will they find the money for fortified wine? Consider the middle-aged fellow who hangs out behind the Save-Mart, the dude with the running sore on his cheek who’s forever bickering with the invisible demons hunched upon his shoulders. Just what do you suppose this gentleman will do when he digs through a filthy dumpster only to discover you’ve taken your recycling in yourself? He’s not going to be very happy, we can tell you that much. He may even leave a turd on the hood of your car. Again.
Like it or not, unforeseen consequences attend every decision. While our newfound zeal for an orderly environment has unquestionably made the earth a more livable place for the majority, the homeless have seen a radical change to their time-honored way of life. Now, these plucky outdoorsmen must devote a greater share of their time not only to panhandling, but also to concocting a sufficiently heart-rending tale to accompany it.