6 low-effort ways to be a better citizen today

Being a high-functioning and productive member of society can be tough.  This I know.  But there are 6 simple things to consider in your daily life that may help you become a better citizen.  Minimal effort is required, so millennials, rest easy.  I’ll tell you up front that voting ain’t on the list.  Voting?  That’s  that bull—-. Change doesn’t start with Barack Obama.  It’s starts with you.

1) Be Intolerant of Litterers.  

Ever see the driver in front of your car take one last puff and toss his cigarette out the window?  I see it at least a handful of times per week.  Since the time I spend driving is limited, my estimate puts the average monthly number of  butts hitting the road at appalling.  And it’s not like these things just dissolve.  No.  They sit there.  And sit there.  And then maybe read a book.  But for the most part, they just sit there.

Whether you fancy yourself an environmentalist or not, this is just disrespectful to the community.  Cigarette smokers do it anywhere.  All the time.  Everywhere people are.  Everywhere people are not.  Contributing to nothing but the garbage scene.  Butts are harmful to animals that eat them, take 12 years to break down, and smell like bums.  For aesthetic and health reasons, litter just sucks.  As do litterers.

Can I simply toss a byproduct of one of my daily habits on the street?  The morning coffee cup?  The afternoon teabag?   I think not.  How dare you enter the space you share with society and I, and throw you butts on our ground.  The beach?  The bustop?   The freeway’s cool right?  I mean its just concrete.  No, no it’s not cool.  Trash on freeways gets blown and washed elsewhere, ya dinks. 

If more people were intolerant of litterbugs, my guess is we’d have a lot less litter.  So go on, HONK your horn the next time you see an ass throw a butt.  Shake your fist.  Throw a scowl.  It can only lead to cleaner rivers, beaches, and even cleaner parking lots.  That’s where I wanna live.  A place where litterbugs are ostracized.  So quit shittin where we eat; it’s the most basic tenant of citizenship.

2) Listen to NPR.

Trust me on this one.  It’s not the sandle-wearing, incensing-burning cult Fox leads you to believe.  Not only are NPR programs intelligent, edifying, and interesting, but they offer the most level-headed analysis that you will find on the airways.  Perhaps most important, their programs can cause you to pause and think for a moment.  Now, I know that Fox may have conditioned you otherwise, but it’s worth the modicum of requisite effort.

If we weren’t supposed to use our brains, evolution would have phased them out eons ago.  But no.  The brain has helped us survive and thrive.  And it may be the only thing that separates us from the Republicanderthals.  I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.  There are good conservatives out there, but members of the GOP in office today give real conservatives a bad name.

I’m straying from the point here.  NPR is the only station that recognizes the beauty of this world, acknowledges the pitfalls of man, and values curiosity.  Elite media?  Damn skippy.  We’re talking Michael Phelps, gold-medal, elite.

If you’ve never had a driveway moment, you friend, have not lived.  NPR stories have moved me to tears, given me hope, and helped me sound smarter than I am, simply by keeping it real.  And worldly.  But that’s just NPR.  Serving up perspective since 1970.

Science Friday, The Conversation, Talk of the Nation, Car Talk, All Things Considered, Of Being; check em out: http://www.npr.org/.  Those who hate have never tuned in, fearful of facing reason.  Better turn the Korn up instead.  Oh yeah, in case you were wondering, the “.org” means they get mad play.

3) Drive in the Right Lane, Pass on the Left.

I can solve all of the traffic problems on earth with this one.  Okay, maybe just alleviate the needless and non-sensical congestion brought on by the Puerto Rican Roadblock (known in Hawaii as a Portuguese Roadblock, pronounced “por-ta-gee roadblok”).  I’m no racist, I just hate when two cars drive side by side at the exact same speed.  Is that so wrong?  If we all just played by the rules, there’d be less rush-hour headaches and more happy hours.

It’s simple physics folks.  If the other things with wheels are going faster than you and are on your right, something is wrong.  I can’t drive through you, over you, or under you, so move over.  If you’d like to pass the tortoise in front of you, hit the left lane.  But here’s the important part, so pay close attention:  Once you know longer have the desire to be moving faster than the cars to your right, move back over.  If you feel like hossin, then hoss away in the left lane (within reason).  Global warming, happier people, yada yada…you know how the rest goes.

4) Engage with the life cycle.

Grow something.  Read a book to a toddler.  Keep a senior company.  Remind yourself that life is short.  Keep yourself in check.  Become one with the passage of time.  Gardening can remind us of the seasonality of life and it’s cyclical nature.  Where you walk today, a child once crawled, and a senior will soon shuffle.  Things enter into existence and then fade out.  That’s life.

If we can keep this perspective, I don’t see how we can continue to get stressed out when someone moves the cheese.  From dust to dust, right?  So what does it matter if a little gets in your eye?

5) Quit watering sidewalks.

And cut out all those other nasty water habits.  What was that you say? Don’t blame you- your sprinklers are automatic?  Shove off.  If you’re watering right after it rains, or making pools of the sidewalks, like so many of my neighbors, you are a terrible citizen.  No way around it.  Sorry.

There was a time when people conserved water because it was economical.  Now people waste to be fashionable.  Or maybe that’s just me.  I have a no left-over policy.  If I can’t finish what’s on my plate, no one can.

So don’t mind me when I water my yard at noon or have my sprinklers synced with the monsoon season.  I might be a fiscal conservative, but I’m certainly no hydro-liberal.  I’m a pavement-watering pric!

6) Be an entrepreneur everyday of the week.

Those who can think beyond today are the ones who can fix tomorrow’s problems.  If every problem was looked at as an opportunity to create, maybe we’d have less problems.  I don’t know.  I’m pretty naive in general, so I still feel like there’s hope.  Why there are still people starving, blowing up buildings, shooting classmates, living on streets, scowling, crying, yelling, and working in goddamn offices, I do not know.

What I do know is this:  Apple computers are better than PCs and Virgin Airlines is better than Delta.

Go off you civic-minded sons of guns, do very little and change the world!




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