by Eric Miller
Wednesday morning, which meant that the garbage
had to be put out for collection. No one took
that task more seriously than Foote Printer, and
sure enough, he was out early to perform his
me, he heard someone say. My name is
Paul Luter, and Ive just moved in next door.
I dont believe weve met yet, although
our wives have.
morning, welcome to the neighborhood, Foote
replied, and then introduced himself.
couldnt help but notice the energy and care
you take with your garbage, Paul noted.
Its like someone wrapping and placing
presents under the Christmas tree. With all due
respect, dont you think youre going a
bit overboard? After all, its only garbage.
Only garbage?, Foote asked, repeating those words
several times with his head cocked, his eyebrows
raised, his tone a skosh harsh, and his back
overboard, and yes to only
garbage, as well. Your body language and
tone suggest that I may have offended you.
you ask. Yes, absolutely, I am offended. I
take my individual responsibility of
environmental stewardship very seriously, as I
hope you do, also. Garbage is not only
garbage, it can be earthly poison.
me if Im wrong, but have I moved next door
to a sanctimonious tree hugging recycler?
dont believe I am sanctimonious.
up Foote. Look at how youre sweating. I
suppose you attribute that to global warming.
attribute it to you. I sense that you may be a
large, human emitter of verbal carbon dioxide,
which I fear is going to exacerbate the
greenhouse effect. You seem to possess an
irrationality that is not sustainable. This does
not surprise me, because I see that you have left
black footprints on the sidewalk. At first, I
assumed that you might be a black-footed pied-noir
from Algeria, but it appears that they are carbon
footprints that you havent offset, thus
leaving your ecological footprint at deeply
talks like that in real life, Paul laughed.
actually they do, Foote replied, and
hopefully, one day, ecological limits will be
central to decision making everywhere.
glared at Foote, and then, in an apoplectic burst
of polluting rage, decreed that his business
profits were being recycled into increased
expenses and taxes. Is not a business a
living and breathing entity to be preserved for
the benefit of society?, he asked.
society, Foote agreed, but not for
you alone. The earth cannot survive by deficits
anymore than your business can, Luter. You cannot
sustain an account by not balancing withdrawals
with deposits. Ecological footprints are the
earthly accounts that need a black bottom line.
derrier-noir, Paul asked smiling?
Wednesday, when Foote was placing his garbage for
collection, he was delighted to see that Paul had
put his out earlier. As he looked over at how
neatly it was sorted, packaged, arranged, and
presented, his eyes twinkled like lights on a