Today I did a hard thing. I stopped shopping at Schnucks for the forseeable future. This was not an easy decision. Many years ago, after sampling some of their competitors in the city—Aldi’s, Shop and Save, and an occasional 15 minute drive to Dierbergs—I settled on Schnucks as my main weekly shopping location. I have two reasonably near me, and after a while, I learned their aisles and their product lines. They met my needs, and offered some unique features. I like shopping. I was raised in the grocery business, and I understand the “behind the scenes” operation. I like the idea of a family business growing large. And, while I have basically been satisfied, I have noticed a few changes for the worse from my consumer point of view: products removed from their inventories without any consumer appeal process, B-grade produce, especially fruit, and drawn out store reorganizations. But on the other hand, I recognize that the grocery business is difficult, especially with notorious competitors like Walmart and Target.
I’ve given a lot of thought to the problem of making human culture on planet Earth sustainable. This word “sustainable” is more than just an environmentalist buzzword. It encapsulates an essential truth about the very survival of the human race and most other plant and animal species living on Earth. That essential truth is this: ‘sustainable’ means (among other things) having a future that is worth living. Talking about sustainability is talking about having a future that is worth living.
I’m pulling up to the Schnuck’s at Grand and Gravois once again around noon on a beautiful August day. My feelings are divided about this, because recently Mike made me aware that Schnuck’s replaced all the union workers at their Bridgeton warehouse with nonunion workers. I have been seriously weighing this issue. But today, here I am on South Grand already right by this familiar shopping place, and I only have three items on my list. I know right where they are here, and the place is nearly always a learning experience.
I grew up swimming in a sea of music. Music has deeply formed my character and continues to engage me in my late 70s. My mother often told the story of how she was in the kitchen and heard the tune “Three Little Kittens” floating tentatively out of the front room in her small “railroad train” double-house apartment. At first she thought it might be the radio, but no, she checked, and there I was, age 3, somehow picking out the tune on her piano. I have both figuratively and literally been playing the piano for as long as I can remember.
Keeping Spaceship Earth from being sunk.
Way back in 1989, I actually thought we could save the Earth by doing a few things like being careful to recycle what we could. It’s pretty apparent in 2016 that we’ve got a really scary struggle ahead of ourselves if human life as we understand it can be preserved beyond another 100 years.
That notwithstanding, here is a tuneful plea that I wrote back then when I was performing more, and later arranged and recorded. Recycling alone will not save us, but in spirit, it’s still correct. I’ve included the words so you can sing along if you want to.
Now for every drop of water that goes trickling down your drain,
People won’t you please recycle the resources of the earth.
And for every piece of plastic that is in your garbage can,
And for every can of soda that you thoughtlessly discard,
In changing their name to “Jayms,” they are coming out as nonbinary.
I recently decided to change my Twitter and Facebook first name from “James” to “Jayms.” While my friends and family have been largely accepting and unquestioning, I would like to explain why for me this makes a significant statement about who I am and how I have evolved in my lifetime.