Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh yeah -- and trees are a CROP

posted Sat, 12 Aug 2006

Save me from environmentally aware kids. Who is brainwashing them, anyhow?

I usually like kids. They’re cute. They’re fun. They belong to someone else.

For instance, when I had lunch with Nicky the other day, Maddie introduced herself by announcing, “I’m four” and holding up four fingers, the oral and visual equivalent of the written “four (4).” (Which, frankly, I’ve never understood. If you don’t know what “four” spells, then you really shouldn’t be signing any legal documents anyhow. You probably shouldn’t be operating in the adult world. But keep using those extra words and use more paper. It increases the probability that I’ll have a pension).

When I looked at her and said, “You are a big girl!” she nodded solemnly, held the fingers up again and assured me, “I’m four,” just so there would be no mistake, lady. I’m not a three year old and don’t you forget it. I demand all the rights and privileges that go with being four. Now get me a gin and tonic and snap to it.

She was an absolute delight and I was charmed by her presence.

But earlier in the week, when I was at a party exchanging gardening stories with those of like mind (gardening can unite conservatives and liberals alike and is probably one of the few safe topics when you don’t know the politics of those around you and would rather avoid that minefield) and said idly that I would be happy for a pesticide that kills squirrels, as I have not had a single fig from my tree – I’m the one who pays the mortgage, I’m the one who pays the property taxes, I’m the one who pays the water bill, but the darn squirrels eat MY figs – the eight-year-old boy within earshot exclaimed in horror, “But that would kill everything! All the birds and the butterflies and the bees!” His little lower lip started to tremble and there was a quiver to his voice and my heart hardened.

I rolled my eyes and snapped, “You’ve never tried to grow your own tomatoes or figs, have you, sonny? Well let me tell you something! Grow up and smell the coffee, kid! It’s war out there and it’s not a pretty sight! If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!”

OK, I didn’t say that. What I did say was (I did roll my eyes), “I mean a pesticide that would kill just squirrels.”

“But if it’s strong enough for squirrels, it would kill everything else! Pesticides are bad!”

“Look, this is my dream pesticide, OK? I want one that is squirrel-specific!”

What on earth are they teaching kids these days? Where do they think food comes from, anyhow? Don’t they know that squirrels are just rats with bushy tails? Who is brainwashing these kids? Pesticides are good! Am I the only one who read the Little House on the Prairie series and knows about the locust swarms eating entire crops of wheat? Don’t you think Pa would have liked to have had locust-killing pesticide?

Without pesticides (and their cousins, herbicides), we wouldn’t have this abundant, bug-free food supply. Without pesticides, eight-year-old boys would be spending their after-school hours picking the bugs out of cotton or weeding the cornfields rather than getting fat playing video games.

Maybe I need to design a video game where bugs, squirrels and deer are the enemy just so kids get it.

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