I think it’s a good idea to reflect, every so often, on what life was really like in the past, especially the even slightly distant past that we may carelessly characterize as “the good old days.”
For instance, let’s talk about carbon monoxide, eternally spewing from the tailpipes of those infernal machines with internal combustion engines, and the accelerating destruction of our atmosphere, and global climate change and global warming and stuff….
Yeah, we can yearn for an earlier time when we weren’t cooking the planet.
Like 1900, before cars and trucks and airplanes were ubiquitous….
….when horses were everywhere, when it was superfluous to use the words “horse-drawn” when mentioning a carriage or wagon or trolley….
….when approximately 3 million horses were the transportation motive power in American cities….
….when all those horses were dropping 20-25 pounds of manure—each—every day….
….when the 15,000 nags in Rochester, NY, produced enough equine hockey pucks in a year to cover
an acre of ground with a mountain of manure 175 feet deep….
….when everyone just stepped around or over the mounds of horse stuff, and nobody sued anybody about environmental impact statements and stuff….
Y’know, honestly, they just piled it up somewhere, that’s the way they took care of it.
‘Course, that’s the way we take care of a lot of our problems today.
Surprising as it may seem, most of the horses disappeared, but the horseshit is still with us.
See Jeff Jacoby's column in The Boston Sunday Globe, December 28, 2014