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What did we used to do?

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Jim Thompson

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Laura and I had a discussion the other day on what should go in the recycle bin. The electric company sends me notices reminding me to use carafes to keep my coffee warm and please turn off the coffee pot between brew cycles. There are only certain days of the year that we have a “trash amnesty day,” and if we bring our normally banned trash to the city municipal facility, with proper paperwork to prove we are citizens of this city, they will take it. 

Lithium-Ion batteries must be disposed of at special facilities miles away.

Little did I think when I was young, probably even up until the age of about 35, how many of my waking hours would be consumed by discussions of how to dispose of my trash, what containers should I avoid when buying food, what bags should I avoid when taking food home from the market, and what the responsible settings are for my thermostat.

What did we do with our time in the olden days?

In today’s world, it feels like many are coming at us telling us what to do, how to think, and throwing a guilt trip at us if we don’t do as they tell us.  

There are few credible sources of information today. Mainstream journalism has largely taken sides, and yet pretends to be unbiased. The courts are being used for political purposes.  

On the political front, vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton dropped out of the 1972 presidential race because it was revealed that he had had mental health treatment. Today, that would be a badge of honor.

In the same era, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned (in 1973) on suspicion of taking kickbacks and bribes.

Today, the likes of Eagleton and Agnew would be just rolling on in office, denying everything until their dying breath.

And we are left reading cereal boxes to make sure they were made of fiber from responsibly sourced materials and that our coffee came from “fair trade” growers, whatever that means – and whoever defines it as such.

The Wizard of Oz has descended on us in many forms. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  

And we are left discussing the contents of our trash can at the behest of some nameless bureaucrat.

This may be about to come home to roost. The electric car and the banning of gas appliances may just be a bridge too far, sparking a rebellion among the skeptical masses.

At least I hope so.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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