40 Every litter bit hurts

Uncle Joe watched an empty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups package do flips in a rare morning breeze. You shouldn’t have too many virtues, he thought, but Joe had this one: he never littered. The sight of slatternly orange plastic in anyway-the-wind-blows somersaults made him boil. Someone ought to pay. Someone needs to be punished. But no one ever stepped up to apprehend these criminals. Would flitting Big Mac wrappers ever cease?
He blamed himself, too, and kicked another rock into the ugly ditch dividing a short stretch of San Anselmo Avenue from the Center Avenue hump that Granny Guss said was a train trestle way before her time.
But rocks were part of the earth. Kicking them back home, so to speak, wasn’t littering. Tossing cigarette butts to keep an Acura ashtray clean was. Uncle Joe wanted to start a war.
He himself was guilty for looking the other way. Twenty years had flown since he’d been assertive. In a Pop Warner game, a beautiful spiral pass soared from his own hand, and his best friend made the spectacular sideline catch. Then the referee said it was out of bounds. Joe’s greatest moment, lasting just that moment, was taken away. He heard “No! No!” shrieks close by, and realized they were from his own throat. When he questioned the referee’s eyesight, underlining his protest by calling him a “Chink,” he was thrown out of the game. Coach Zhang shortly threw him off the team. No one in his family stood up for him. The lesson learned was assertiveness meant exile.
His only remaining connection to the team was being the go-to guy for Thai sticks and purloined Prozac, a taste of choice for the small town’s ultra-weirdkids.
Considering he was on the way to the Plip Plop Coffe Shop, Joe thought chances were good the Pop Warner connection was soon to ride again.


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