I saw something on the drive to work this morning that rather disturbed me. I was driving along, jamming to Prince’s “Kiss,” reliving the ’80s when I noticed two women walking down the street. They passed a daycare center and one woman tossed her Styrofoam to-go coffee cup in a crevasse where it looked like a tree had been removed in front of the center. Really? REALLY?

That just hit me wrong. I know the city of Memphis offers a hotline to report drivers that litter, but since this woman didn’t have a license plate attached to her behind, I was out of luck.

Granted, I work in a medical center that is located in an older part of town that borders on what some might call ghetto. But, the fact that people throw trash around doesn’t help the scenery any. It would be a much more beautiful, desirable part of town if we could keep it clean.

Could it have been that that woman was just that uneducated about litter? Didn’t her mom, dad, grandmother, or teacher teach her not to throw trash on the ground? She appeared to only be a few years younger than me – doesn’t she remember Iron Eyes Cody?

(This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.)

For those that don’t remember, let me tell you about Iron Eyes Cody. I guess when I was growing up in the ’60s, commercials were just hitting their stride. I remember a lot of them – the one about the child eating lead paint (I learned not to), the child getting suffocating after being closed up in an abandoned refrigerator (childhood in the ‘60s was often like living a horror movie), and my favorite – Iron Eyes Cody.

Iron Eyes appeared in the Keep America Beautiful commercial. It can still be viewed on YouTube. He was seen in his Native American garb, going down the stream in a canoe when he hit upon big factories polluting the air, water, and shore. Once he gets on shore, cars are zooming by and someone tosses what looks like a bag of fast food trash at his feet. The camera zooms in on Iron Eyes Cody as a tear slowly runs down his face. I have a juicy bit of trivia about Iron Eyes Cody, but you will have to check out my Pop Culture blog to find out what it is.

Granted, I think we have come a long way since the ‘60s as far as pollution, but everyone needs to remember that it starts with them. Dispose of your litter properly!

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Libby Pelham

About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).