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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Three R's

by Andrew Schulze

  I remember a time when I was younger.

  I love beer.

  I have probably spent enough money on beer to put both Bush sisters--Jenna and Anheuser--through at least two years of college. For this reason it is not unusual for me to find myself with empty beer bottles in hand. There are traditionally three things that I do when confronted with these dead soldiers. I either,

  1. Throw them away.
  2. Get the nickels.
  3. Dress a number of them up in hot pink Barbie outfits and then cozy up for some wild beer-bottle-dressed-up-as-Barbie-lesbo-action.

  Admittedly, I tend to strive for number three.

  Until yesterday I had always known what to do with my empty bottles. Then my world changed. I had an empty beer bottle but was in no condition to operate a motor vehicle to retrieve my nickel, and certainly in no condition to pleasantly clothe the container.

  Just as I faced the fact that my options would be confined to one, I saw that someone had abducted my beloved grey Rubberneck garbage can from the corner of the campus center. The same monster apparently then had the audacity to replace it with five smaller brightly colored recycling bins. I had heard of recycling before, but did not have any first hand experience. Not only was I a recycling virgin, but I'd been drinking. I hoped no one would take advantage of me.

  "Excuse me," I politely slurred to a rather attractive bystander, "Do you know where I can stick my bottle?" She screamed and ran.

  I looked back at all the choices I had before me. I quickly realized that all the recycling bins were clearly and appropriately labeled. I read them all. I was still confused.

  I couldn't find the bin for "Heineken."

  Just as I was about to leave my bottle on the floor, it dawned on me that the different bins were all color-coded. This is important. This means that wherever you go, the red bin will always be the red one. I had solved the riddle. My Heineken bottle was green. There was a green bin. Coincidence? Of course not. I tossed my empty bottle in the green one and then skipped back out to my car for reinforcements.

  I went back through the campus center again earlier this afternoon and again analyzed the recycling bins, this time, with a greater air of sobriety.

  I found that there were bins for cans and bottles, for newspaper, and for white paper. There were also bins for mixed paper, and blended paper, and sauteed paper.

  There was even a bin for Michael Jackson's old noses. I couldn't believe that it was empty.

  Taking an even closer look I found that some persons had mistakenly understood "NEWSPAPER" to mean "BEER CANS." I even found a tuna melt in the sauteed paper bin.

  This was a disgrace.

  I went home and wrote my congressman.

  "Dear Congressman," I began, "Recycling is garbage."

  I went on to account for my newfound position on recycling. I began by saying that I was quite upset that my fellow citizens couldn't appreciate the difference between the New York Times and the King of Beers.

  I went on and recalled having been made to both practice recycling in grammar school, and to memorize the three R's, Reuse, Recycle, and Reproduce. I consider it a waste of time.

  I explained that most of the research I'd done indicates that not only is there plenty of ordinary landfill space, but that recycling procedures outside of bringing bottles to the redemption center are quite pricy, and rather unorganized.

  As everything at the redemption center is already ordered, the process is time and cost efficient. I cannot imagine the work done by whoever gets the buckets of "NEWSPAPER" from my campus center. That person has to sort through newspapers, beer cans, and Chumbawumba albums. I hope they're well paid.

  I continued and rationalized that when I have an empty beer bottle in my hand, I don't have glass, I have garbage. I only have glass if I bring it to the redemption center. The same is true when I'm holding an old Cosmopolitan. I don't have sauteed office paper, I have garbage. More specifically, I have articles explaining "How To Get On Top (Of Your Job),"and, "Why He's Always Punchin' the Munchkin."

  In my conclusion, I urged my congressman to devote some attention to these matters of recycling. They are important. They are our future. They are confusing me when I'm drunk.

  I hope I get a reply.