By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Jeff Whitten: Welcome to 2022, hooray
editor's notes

First, since it’s 2022 I thought I’d start it off with a question: How do those little tiny Kias and Nissans and Hondas and Chevys the size of a couple of roller skates go so fast without blowing up?

You see them every day on the interstate and state highways, zipping around in and out of traffic like they don’t have any sense. It baffles me.

It also kind of ruins one’s equanimity, realizing some toy car that’s probably held together with staples and powered by the automotive equivalent of a hamster wheel is out there running 95 mph on I-95. It’s indecent. There should be a law.

Second, if I have one New Years Resolution to make, it’s going to be to whine all 365 days of 2022 about litter.

You folks who feel the spirit should certainly carry on complaining about illegal immigration, or Republicans, or Democrats, or the school board turning into a bunch of mask-requiring do-gooder fascists, or how the election was stolen or about wingnuts who think the election was stolen. Or all of the above. Please do. It’s clearly helping matters.

In the meantime, I’m going to use my keyboard fingers (as opposed I guess to my non-keyboard fingers, which would probably be my toes) to gripe about litter.

I come by this loathing of those who gift us with their garbage naturally. For one thing, for all my faults I was raised better. Leave the outdoors like you found it.

For another, part of my wife’s bucolic wooded property surrounded by noisy neighbors is also bordered on one side by a heavily traveled two-lane road that might as well be a state highway with all the traffic whizzing by at speeds that have got to be faster than the posted 50 mph.

About once a week I wander out there and pick up trash, which is about the only thing sprouting faster than subdivisions and borrow pits in this part of Georgia.

During this exercise I have to keep a wary eye out not only for those tiny little Japanese hamster cars going 120 mph, but also big American pickups. Sometimes 40-year-old juvenile delinquents in ballcaps will see how close they can drive their armored personnel carriers to the shoulder of the road, like I’m an affront to their notion of what should be happening in their driving space.

Anyhow, in my neck of the woods I wind up picking up the usual assortment of garbage, a testament I reckon to our collective lack of respect for anything that doesn’t give us gratification or make us money.

That means an abundance of fast food wrappers from the onslaught of fast food restaurants we apparently can’t do without (I didn’t have to read we got a Chic-fil-A, I found a whole bag of Chic-fil-A trash in the ditch the day it opened), with empty beer cans and energy drink bottles and Fireball mini bottles thrown in for good measure, and the occasional diaper, and losing lottery scratch offs and the random shoe and some things that defy easy description.

Once, someone left an entire dryer. And there’s always a steady supply of cigarette butts, and snuff cans, and foam cups full of dip spit from the dip spitters, and so on.

Anyhow, I was out there on the side of the road for a while on Sunday, picking up after others and dodging fire ant beds and those wicked spiky sowthistle bushes that’ll kill you. On my way to work Wednesday I noticed a fresh supply of other people’s garbage had been left to replace what I’d just cleaned up. It’s like I’m Sisyphus.

What’s more, as I navigated backroads over to Highway 204 and then down to I-95, the entire way was liberally supplied with other people’s garbage. The usual trash lined the roads for 20 something miles, more or less.

It’s a disheartening thing, really, to realize such an abundance of people care so little about the world they have no qualms about trashing it.

Who are these people and who raised them to be so carelessly filthy and disrespectful of the world around them?

Do these trashy ignoramuses ever bathe, or change drawers, or wash their dishes, or use deodorant, or brush their teeth?

Do they pick their nose? Alas, I suspect they do. I may have inadvertently picked up some of the results, smeared on food wrappers left on the side of the road and disguised as relish.

Still, I am often diverted from this miserable line of thought by smirking dump truck drivers pulling out of borrow pits and right in front of me so I have to brake and say bad words. It’s happened twice already this week, and it’s only Wednesday. Happy New Year.

Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News until he gets fired or retires or dies, or all three, though not necessarily in that order.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters