In America savvy marketers have effectively duped us into believing that convenience in the Holy Grail: fast food, paper plates, quick-drying high-tech fabric, take-and-bake pizza.
We eat our meals out of cans or boxes or plastic bags; we put diapers made of wood pulp and petroleum-based super absorbent polymers on our babies, and we use our cars to drive half a mile away.
The happy woman in the TV commercial spraying toxic chemicals to get stains out of a collar shirt has no wrinkles on her face. The family piling into the carbon-dioxide-spewing gas-guzzling SUV in the magazine ad does not bicker.
If you believe the status quo, canned carbonated soda pop and hormone-laden hamburgers with ketchup (which is a vegetable) are the foods of choice that lead to happiness.
But then you realize you’ve been duped: your friend’s toddler drinks Drano and is disfigured for the rest of his life; your neighbor’s son gets leukemia; a pedestrian in town is struck dead in a crosswalk by a driver too impatient to wait; and your father-in-law is diagnosed–the day before yesterday–with throat cancer.
Happiness doesn’t come with plastic packaging.
There is nothing we can buy to fix our lives.
There is no money to be made from clean air, exercise, unassisted birth, another mom’s hand-me-down cloth diapers, freshly picked green beans off the vine in your yard, vaccine freedom, intimate friendships, honest conversations, small kindnesses, or walking to school.
I don’t want my father-in-law to die of cancer.
But I do want you to come with me. Let’s fix what’s broken. Together.
Photo by Christopher Briscoe.