LC's Take: It's not easy going green

Posted Sunday, February 9, 2014 in Features

LC's Take: It's not easy going green

by LC Van Savage

Apparently there’s something very wrong with me. (I know what most of you are thinking, but I’ll forgive you.) The thing is, I can’t get those environmentally “green” health products to work for me. I buy them, people give them to me. I try and I try but I just have to go back to the old reliable supermarket and drugstore for the products that for me, always do work.

First of all, I’m not entirely convinced human-made health products are not as good as or better than something one digs out of one’s back yard, chomps and swallows down, or sucks out of a tree trunk. I have this acquaintance, for example, who strongly scolded me about taking generic and even non generic Big Industry headache remedies for the occasional thumper I get. I asked her what she recommended instead, and she pulled out this small tube that looked like a Chapstick, but turned out to be a container of headache pills.  She opened the top and showed me. They were tiny white things, about the size of mammal ova.  I asked her how they could cure headaches, considering their tiny size, and she assured me they do work. I then asked if she’d give me two to inspect, and she said she could not because “they can’t be touched, or they won’t work.”  They can’t be touched?? Why? They won’t work if they’re touched? How does one get it from the container to one’s mouth without the pills touching some part of the human head anatomy en route?   How about if they touch my uvula on their way down my gullet?  So how do you take them? By inhaling? By tossing them from the container toward my open mouth with hopes one will get in there? Should I toss a few out onto a sterile surface and suck them up through a straw?  Don’t touch them? No. I think I’ll just continue to take a nice store-bought pain killer I can put into my hand and swallow, you know, a pill that’ll kill the headache.

Sorry, but these miraculous herbal things just never, ever work for me. I wish they did.   They seem to work for others, but never me. Just never. Last month I felt a tiny cold coming on, so I purchased some health type zinc stuff, kept one of them in my mouth constantly, 24/7, for two full weeks. I bought Echinacea tea, drops, and pills. I drank that stuff by the hour and by the gallon. I slurped from a cup of it constantly. I bathed in it.  I swallowed so much Vitamin C, I began to sweat citrus.  The results of my disciplined efforts at a cure, or at least a merciful lessening of my simple common cold? Pneumonia. Twice. Severe.  Still have it.  Those Echinacea cures now live on our compost heap. I doubt they can cure anything there, either. What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I chew on stuff from the woods and get cured of ailments the way other people can?

 I’ve just spent four days with a dear friend, a woman I admire for her commitment to save the world. Before I tell you about her, I want to assure you that my husband “Mongo” and I are dedicated and compulsive recyclers of all possible recyclable things. We get a lot of exercise by walking from bin to bin, box to box, room to room, all labeled for different things we can load up for the cause.   But this woman, our hostess, puts me to shame. For example, she uses no bleach anywhere because she won’t be responsible for its getting into the water system.  So her bathrooms, countertops, and white clothing as a result, are dingy and grey, stained and nasty looking. I did about 3 week’s worth of laundry for her one afternoon when she was out and yes, I confess I did use bleach and she was stunned at the whiteness of her things until I told her how I got them to look like that. She was livid that I’d found some ancient bleach in her garage and had used it without her permission. Well, I’m sorry. Not.  (I want to assure you that I too don’t just use those things indiscriminately and I do think about the stuff that can get into the water we all must drink and I do try to avoid doing that. But hey, I’m flawed.)

This woman friend of mine also uses those “green” products to clean her windows, stove top and pots and pans, dishes, clothing and that’s good. No, that’s bad.  Just like the medicines that won’t work on me, these products won’t work for me. Everything that is supposed to be shiny in her home is covered with a pearly film and lots of smears. Peering through her windows makes me think I’m suddenly growing cataracts the thickness of orange peels.

 For those years when she refused to use paper towels or napkins, my friend used to keep a huge bin loaded up with clean rags, but I'll tell you that I find it a bit unsettling to be pat-drying lettuce leaves with her husband’s old underpants. She finally broke down and began to use paper towels that are “green,” so flimsy and thin they simply shred and fall to pieces when used. It’s like trying to mop up the counter with a handful of coleslaw.  And her toilet paper?  Let us not go there. 

 Her soap doesn’t lather, but does sandpaper the skin nicely, her dishwasher soap leaves such a film that the dishes have to be rewashed (therefore using up precious water, dear hostess) and her food, while abundant, is so healthy much of it has no taste or has a flavor I suspect coyotes would reject. It requires copious amounts of anything liquid to choke it down, and most of it leaves such an aftertaste I have to keep a roll of mint candies in my pocket which I chew and swallow by the tens after each of her meals.

Her vegan chocolate cakes are--–well, they can only be described as heinous.  She is so proud of them, proud that they are healthy and wonderful but oh my, mother of mercy, they are fierce. They hurt to eat.  Honestly it’s like trying to chew and swallow sour peat moss.  But I don’t want her to know that, so when she stays here and bakes one of those …things, after she’s gone to bed, I’ve taken slabs of them and buried them deep into the trash so she’d think we were sneaking pieces of them to eat while she slept upstairs.

But she is oh, such a good, good soul who is determined to healthify the world, her family, her pets and us too, a rather huge and probably hopeless task, I’m afraid. But she’s trying.  All I do is complain.  So who’s the bad guy here? Not she.

 I’m so sorry about this, Health Store and Health Consumer people.  I know I’m the one at fault. I do try to do my part for the world and my own bod, I’ve read about all the so called “bad” things about but my using store products that have been around since forever, but would it help if I said that Mongo and I are about 90 percent vegetarian?  We are.  We are becoming more and more uncomfortable eating things that a very short time ago were mooing or clucking or oinking or swimming (not sure what fish talk sounds like) or singing or----well, you get the idea.  I do appreciate that all medicines came from dirt originally, and I know about all the bad stuff that’s in all the very bad stuff we use to clean our home, but I just can’t get those green cleaning things to work for me. Ever. And I do try. Indeed I do. I’m too old I guess.  Lame excuse I know. But I’ve learned to say that a lot.  Helps me to get away with lots and lots of stuff. 

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