So I was driving home today and saw something that I can only describe as a truck Uncle Buck would be proud to own shooting huge plumes of sulfur enriched smoke out of its clearly necessary smoke stacks which came up through the bed of the truck. It pissed me off a little, but I live in Utah, so it's not something I'm not used to. As I was passing it I saw a bumper sticker that read, "I'm stopping global warming, I produce soot to block out the sun." and another on the other side on a green background that read, "I hate the environment." I realized this wasn't just a regular douchebag behind the wheel of this truck, it was one of those special kind of douchebags you only run across on rare occasions like Toby Keith or OJ Simpson. Out of curiosity I looked in the truck and saw a guy who was skinnier than me, hadn't shaved in probably two weeks and was wearing a backwards Dallas Cowboys (more on that later) hat and those ugly sunglasses that you're picturing right now in your head. All he was missing was a cigarette and a few tattoos of naked women.
No surprises here.
This messed up side of me wanted to honk and flip him off. Fortunately I'm not 17 anymore so I didn't. Besides, he would have had no idea what I was flipping him off for and probably followed me, shooting at me with his shotgun, for about 10 seconds until he couldn't keep up with my Hyundai because his truck with giant tires, requiring so much more torque to create motion that far from the axle than a normal truck, would have maxed out at 68 miles per hour.
Anyway, I just drove on past him and cursed at him in my head for being an idiot. This got me thinking, why do I care? No one in my family is an environmentalist hippie that reuses their shopping bags, buys low-wattage light bulbs and hates his car because it "only" gets 28 miles per gallon. I grew up in Utah which is full of people who think global warming is a myth and scientists only say it exists because they make money from "environmental companies" to say this. I don't really have any friends that I would describe as green or liberal.
In an aside note, what exactly is an environmental company anyway? Do people really think these "environmental companies" have more money than oil companies and that environmental scientists stake their reputation to get paid less by these companies that no one can name off the top of their head to make up global warming?
So what gives? Why do I love the Earth and hate Carbon footprints?
I blame Captain Planet.
When I was 11 years old and all my friends were raving about the Power Rangers and fighting over who was going to be the red ranger so they could fight that moon lady. I wanted to be Wheeler (the fire ring guy) and fight pollution. What kind of a messed up childhood is this? Another show I watched when I was really little, that I've never heard someone talk about, was David the Gnome. It was about this little creepy gnome that rode a fox, named Swift, around the forest and tried to save his home, the trees, from deforestation. So instead of wanting to be Mikey (the turtle) I wanted to be a gnome? Okay I don't recall that, but it's a fun thought.
See this is what happens when you have an overprotective parent that doesn't let you watch the Power Rangers because they're too violent. You become a tree hugger because the only other option is a blue guy with green hair who kills "eco-villains" like Hogglish Greedly and Looten Plunder to save Gaia, which is loosely supposed to be the essence of the planet I think. Then at the end of every episode it throws in a plug for the environment telling you in some way or another that wildlife is good and pollution is bad. Now, 13 years later, I honestly believe these things myself and want to help when I can.
Even when I lived in Heber and adopted some redneck traits, such as being a Dallas Cowboys fan and thinking cowboy hats are awesome, my favorite shows to watch were Carmen San Diego and the Chipmunk Rescue Rangers. Really it's amazing that I didn't turn out to be gay considering my favorite shows growing up were David the Gnome, Carmen San Diego and Captain Planet. Though if you were to ask the guy in the truck, he'd probably say that I'm gay because all environmentalists are gay, or something really educated like that. You know, the type of statement you'd expect from a dude with an IQ of 75 and smoke stacks in his truck.
So next time I turn off your light because you're not in the room, tell you that you should recycle what you're throwing away or make you get out of the car to go inside the fast food place rather than going through the drive through, don't blame me. Blame Captain Planet. It's his fault. He convinced me that it was my responsibility to do these things.
"The power is YOURS!"