Friday, November 9, 2007

Tooth Fairy, Part Two :)

Well, if you were reading along on the post just before this one, you were expecting a story involving the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. I had to make a quick escape, though, for two reasons: low battery and a little boy who can read rather well now! Thank goodness, I hadn't written anything incriminating yet :)

Thinking about playing Tooth Fairy just reminded me of being 6 years old and quizzing my mom about Santa. I'm sure I'd asked about the Tooth Fairy, too, but I remember standing by the sink while she washed dishes that day. I kept asking more and more detailed questions about the jolly old elf, and finally my mom admitted that she didn't know too much about Santa because her family had been too poor for Santa to stop at their house every Christmas. This was certainly not an exaggeration, as those four kids were grateful if their stockings held an orange and some nuts or hard candy on Christmas morning. It didn't take much for me to make the connection that Santa must not be real if he couldn't stop at every house like proclaimed in all those songs and stories. It didn't really bother me. In fact, I felt immensely grownup and important, being in on this secret that I must not tell my little sister and brother.

All of this comes just as I've been reading a book called Not Buying It My Year Without Shopping, by Judith Levine. In 2004, the author decided to chronicle a year of living without purchasing any "extras". So far, I've read into July, and it's led me to discover a few interesting websites. As a packrat who is slowly paring down what she buys, I am intrigued by giving up all but necessities. Not ready to do it myself, especially not a month before Christmas, but it is intriguing. Levine gave up eating out, purchased locally grown food, didn't go to the movies or any other event that required a ticket purchase, and broke the rules of her experiment buying a shirt and pair of pants at a thrift store. While googling Voluntary Simplicity from Levine's book, I stumbled across No Impact Man, as well as one of his critics. No Impact Man has given up toilet paper and electricity, riding his bike through New York City. . .but his self-proclaimed nemesis Idyllopus points out that No Impact Man's sacrifices are going to culminate in a book and a movie. Well, it's all a very thought provoking, these conversations about using one washable glass jar versus a myriad of paper or styrofoam cups, these musings about whether or not one person's actions really make any difference, and the inevitable subtle bickering and finger-pointing between all the different factions with their different levels of carbon footprints.

So what about me, what do I do to reduce my carbon footprint on Mother Earth? Not enough. I use a real plate every meal, but give hubby and the kids the paper plates they prefer most meals. Hubby recycles, to the point of digging aluminum cans out of trash cans at a friend's house, but then he won't eat leftovers. I've pretty much narrowed down my purchases to gifts for others, glass supplies, and books, but my children are enamored of Happy Meal toys (actually, all toys, and it's my fault) and I can't bring myself to give up junk food. Guess No Impact Man is serving one good purpose-- making me think more closely about the necessities.

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