Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Nerd Party

As it happens to be Super Tuesday, I figure I'll risk my nerdly neck and venture out into the wilds of political speaking and toss an idea into the ring that I think we all can agree on together. Dangerous? You bet, these political wrangles can get ugly – FAST. But I figure if I can manage a holiday dinner with my parents (retired Marine* NRA father and dedicated homemaker mother**... with that pedigree I bet me outing them as staunch Republicans will come as little shock to my readers) and the Prime Geeks parents (Democrat to the bone, teacher's union, and things haven't been the same since Kennedy was killed) without bloodshed, I think I can wind my way through this tango without too much terror.

After a few sleepless nights (I might also confess to a few glasses of sangria – applied medically, of course) I feel I have hit upon the perfect act to unify our nation. Republicans holding hands with Democrats, Treehuggers with Gunnuts, Grannies and Bikers, Cheerleaders and Chess players....

The idea came to me the way many kernels of insight come to me – the Prime Geek, bored out of his nut while a program compiles tends to surf the web (strictly to multi task, of course) a wee bit obsessively. This means I will sometimes receive dozens of emails over the course of a 24 hour period, with topics ranging from the environmental... to the newest posting on icanhascheezburger.com. On one hand these emails remind me that my husband thinks of me often over the course of the day, on the other – well, sometimes it would be easier if he would just roll over and tell me instead of IM'ing me from the other side of the bed. These are the burdens a mixed marriage holds. When Nerds and Geeks join their lives together, compromises must be found... if only for the sake of the Mp3 collection.

Anyway... it all started with an email containing the following link : http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/02/world/europe/02bags.html?hp=&pagewanted=all .

We've walked this path before, journaling my attempts to corral the ever present plastic grocery bag from my home... but this seems to take the whole effort to a truly logical conclusion. Want a plastic bag to carry your goods home in? Okay, fine. That's allowed... but you're going to have to pay for it. Not a huge amount (Ireland's tax of $0.33 seems reasonable. Less then a can of soda on the way out of the store, the price means if you really really just have to have the plastic it is still a doable cost for most.), no shouting, no tsking, no guilt inducing fingers being shaken at you. Simply pay the nice cashier as you would for any other item being purchased at the store and move on about your day. Not want to pay an extra tax on your box of Capt'n Crunch and 6-pack of Coke? No worries, just grab a bag on your way out of the house or keep one in the car for last minute sugar rushes.

A green option – one that the environmentally vocal Democrats should love. Ireland reduced their use of the planet damaging by 94% in a single year... think how our nations parks and streets would look in just a year with that kind of reduction in trash littering the sidewalks. We accept a tax on other items not so great for us – soda, cigarettes, and beer topping the list – why not on something everyone agrees is harmful?

Don't think I'm leaving the Republicans out of the happy dance we can all waltz to with this idea. Think of it – all those flimsy bags being made by the million in foreign countries. There would be an overnight explosion in American craftspersons desperately trying to fill a bag-induced void. Heck, we're already working on it -search ebay, etsy, or any of a dozen other craft sale sites and you'll find thousands of versions of the new style of grocery bag. The first republican who grabs onto this idea and presents it in their campaign is going to FORCE inter-party cooperation. No democrat can argue its a needed idea, no republican can come up with a reason to resist.

Let's make our leaders play nicely in their chosen sandboxes. Forward the link (and hey, this site as well) to your friends and let's see if we can make a difference in this politically fraught year.

If you carry a purse, remember your car keys, or make sure to grab your id badge before heading off to work, then grabbing a bag before you head out for a day of shopping should be easy.

Tomorrow I'll post some addresses to forward your requests for a bag tax to... and include a few nifty ways to cut down on our use as well. Til then, remember – no politics at the dinner table. It just causes indigestion and tossed mashed potatoes.

Viva la' Nerdly Revolution!

*My father requires I explain – there are only two kinds of people in the world. Marines and those that wish they were. There apparently is no such thing as a retired Marine... there are only Marines currently serving, and those on standby.+
** Mom prefers the term “Domestic Goddess” and has begun to insist my father refer to her as such when he is introducing her to his friends.+
+ And people wonder why I turned out just slightly odd. Frankly, its amazing I can even SEE normal on a good day.


Anonymous said...

I think it would just be easier to cane people who litter.

Or it'd make me feel very, very good.

Jenna said...

While I will admit to often wishing I could head up the Team of Attitude Adjusters... sadly the list of people to beat would be too long.

Yes, litterers are high on the list... but so are people who ask "Is it hot enough for you?" in the summer, folks who use the word "Pacifically" instead of "Specifically, and parents who let their children scream in the grocery store.

Easier to just pass the tax... and less taxing on my wrists in the long run.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

That's a great idea.

I don't know if it's universal, but our Whole Foods is going to stop using plastic bags on Earth Day of this year.

Lea said...

New Seasons in Portland, OR has never given out plastic bags. Loves them, I do! I may forward that article to my state and federal reps and senators.

Nerd On!