TALES FROM THE DUMP: A magical myth about litter

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Summertime is a magical time in the North, so here is a tale of magic, myth and legend.

It is the story of Larry or maybe it will be Laverne, the litter person, who was destined to become the patron Saint of Litter. The superhero of trash. The one who did battle with the evil fire breathing dragon of garbage and won. That is why in time you will see no litter, trash or garbage dumps, anywhere in the land.

Larry or Laverne started out as your ordinary average teenager walking aimlessly down the street. They happened to see a piece of litter ahead, and for some unknown reason bent down, picked it up and carried it to the next garbage can. That made them feel better because even though it was only one piece it made the street cleaner. So, they did it more often.

They also got curious about litter so they went home, logged on and did some research on it. It turns out there was a whole lot more litter in the world than they imagined, and it was having a much bigger impact on the environment than they had dreamed. It was forming a geological layer all around the entire planet. From pole to pole and from east to west. It was more than a little scary that humans were covering the planet in plastic and litter.

They read more and more until they finally couldn’t read no more. Something had to be done about the litter and they were going to start. So, every morning they set out and walked around the town picking up litter. They did it day after day and people started to take notice.

Some thought it was funny and made jokes about crazy Larry/Laverne, but other people thought they were doing a good thing and they would occasionally thank them or stop to help. Someone gave them one of those ‘grabber sticks’ so they didn’t have to bend down and could get the cigarette butts and broken glass. The one thing that just about everyone could agree on was that the town was slowly but surely starting to look a little cleaner. Even the people who said there was no point picking up, because you can’t stop the people who litter from littering, had to admit that one person working nonstop at picking up litter had made the place cleaner.

One day while walking along, a big raven swooped down and landed on their shoulder.

The raven said, “Hey kid, we have been watching you, what are you doing.”

Larry/Laverne was a little surprised but answered, “Picking up liter,” then blurted out, “You can talk!” The raven cackled, “Of course we can talk, who do you think taught humans to talk. We stopped talking to humans, when they came up with the ridiculous idea that they were superior. But I like your idea and perseverance kid, maybe we can help.”

The raven told his friends and they told the gulls and the gulls told the magpies and other birds. Pretty soon all the birds were helping pick up the litter, especially the stuff humans couldn’t see or get to. Then they added their own twist and started pooping on the heads of people who littered. A notorious litterer was seen running down the street with a flock of gulls following screeching at him and letting fly. Nothing like being bombarded with bird poop to get people to reconsider their ways, they said.

Soon the litterers stopped littering because no one likes bird poop in their hair.

So that’s how it started, and the litter free area grew and grew and eventually litter was being cleaned up all across the North, the country and around the planet. And it all started with Crazy Larry, or was it Crazy Laverne, the litter person from the NWT with the help of all the wonderful birds, of course.

Now there is a myth that could turn into a legend. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that one person can’t make a difference because one person can inspire others and soon, you have a whole lot of people and birds making a difference. Litter today gone tomorrow.