Now for the record I need to start off by saying that this research is not based in any type of scientific research I’ve come across, or made up for that matter. In fact not a single dolphin was questioned in the gathering of this research, and by research I mean the short conversation I heard while I was standing in line outside a sushi restaurant in Maui.
The sushi restaurant was in our things to do in Maui book. The place had half price appetizers, sushi rolls, and sake after 10 PM, and karaoke! I have many fond memories of karaoke, not so much me singing, but me enjoying the singing and usually attempted singing of others. This was no different; the best performance of the night was, hands down, an old gray-haired Hawaiian with a cane. He was a largish sized man who chose to sing a song by Smokey Robinson and nailed it. It was amazing that a man that size for hit notes that high. And no, the Smokey-like Hawaiian was not part of the research, but definitely deserves some recognition.
The research happened about 9:50 PM, while standing in line waiting for the doors to open. We were the fifth group in line and shortly after getting there a red convertible pulled up and three youngish kids, i.e. barely old enough to legally drink, got out and got in line behind us (two boys and one girl). I don’t think they were bad people, I just think they had a different set of priorities than my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I have. As we attempted to talk about our favorite parts of the day and share our excitement about going snorkeling that following morning, this threesome talked in the vibrato of children who are trying to whisper, but haven’t figured out it involves lowering the volume of your speaking voice. Also, their favorite way to begin almost every sentence was with the phrase, “Oh my god.”
Girl to Boy 1: “Oh my god, you look so good in that new shirt.”
Boy 1 to Girl: “Oh my god, really?”
Girl to Boy 1: “Really.”
Boy 1 to Girl: “Oh my god, thanks.”
Boy 1 then announced to everyone in line, while only making eye contact with his friends, that he needed a smoke. So he walked over to his little red convertible (no, sadly it was not a Corvette), opened the trunk, dug through a backpack and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. As he stood next to the trunk of his car and smoked the girl yelled to him, “Oh my god you look so skinny standing next to your car.”
To which he replied, “Oh my god, really?”
Which caused Angela whisper to me, “Why do they have to talk like that?”
“Oh my god, what do you mean?” I whispered back to her.
She hit me.
“Oh my god, ouch!” I said, smiling at her. (It was officially on at that point.)
Now I did not see Boy 1 drop his cigarette on the ground and get back. This was probably due to my threats and taunts of tickles directed toward Angela as she attempted to hit me again. What disrupted this playful exchange was the lady standing in front of. Seconds after Boy 1 got back in line, she walked past us and up to Boy 1, saying, “I just love your car, could I talk to you for a minute?” And she pulled him over to the back of his car for a quick chat.
I’m not sure if it was the acoustics of the parking lot being just so that the conversation carried perfectly to where we were standing, or if it was the fact that she too did not understand the volume differences between a whisper and a normal talking voice, but this is what she said, “Hi, I’m a marine biologist on this island and I know that 95% of all littered cigarettes butts end up in the ocean and are responsible for making dolphins and other life very sick. You need to pick up your cigarette butt and put it in the trash. Thank you so much.” And then back to her place in line without even a “please” or “thank you”.
Boy 1 stood there for a second, looking like he was processing what just happened to him. Then without a word, bent over picked up his cigarette butt, walked it over to the trash can and disposed of it properly. As he walked up to his friends he said, in the quietest his voice had used since we they got there, “I totally understand where she’s coming from.” Then promptly changed the subject.
Angela turned to me with her large eyes full of joy and amazement. “That is the best thing I have seen all day,” adding, “I love that lady!”
A few minutes later we were inside ordering an excessive amount of sushi and giggling at the cigarette incident and then at the tone deaf couple trying to sing some Johnny Cash song and failing at every note.
So what’s the lesson? I guess it’s… well, I mean people are going to smoke if they want to, even if everyone agrees (even smokers) it’s an unhealthy and disgusting addiction. No, I think the point is, throw your cigarette butts in the trash. Because every time you drop a cigarette butt on the ground, a baby dolphin bursts into flames… too much? Ok fine, every time you drop a cigarette butt on the ground, a dolphin has a chance of becoming addicted too. And you can get into a lot of trouble trying to feed Nicorette to dolphins… ahem, I mean, so I’ve heard (whistles innocently). Seriously, if you smoke don’t litter. Actually, just don’t litter period. The dolphins say thanks (yes, for not littering AND for all the fish).
Any no-littering stories you’d care to share?
Google Images, keywords: dolphins, standing in line, oh my god, cigarette litter, sick dolphin and litter free planet.
I always thought dolphins were more the pipe smoking type…
You’d think so, but sadly the mouth piece is to small and keeps getting stuck in their blow hole. 🙂
never thought of that!:)
OH MY GOD! I think it’s darkly humorous that a marine biologist scorned someone about littering and its effects on the little critters in the ocean, and then got back in line to devour the critters in which she valiantly fought the good fight for. Granted, she might have gone for the karaoke, but really, who does that?
My mother is a fan of cancer and loves to contribute secondhand death to everyone around her, so when she use to babysit my daughter, during the day, she would step out on the porch for a smoke. My wife and I are non-smoking ex-smokers who bash people who cannot kick the habit and wag fingers at them for their lack of commitment in this, because it makes us feel better and we are assholes. I’m just kidding, we feel terrible about it most times. :-p
I have one ashtray, which I asked very nicely that she clean out when she leaves and low and behold, by mid-week I go out to get some fresh air and take in old smelly discarded butt. a whole tray full of butts. I change from my current pale face to a brighter shade of red, and then go back inside, dial mommy and say nicely, “WTF did I ask you to do? Please empty your ashtray when you leave. Wind blows you know and butts tend to end up in the corners of my porch, which makes me a tad bit angry.” She says OK. I just forgot and all is well in the Shire.
Next day, I come home and the astray is free of butts. A slight tear of joy comes to one eye and I step out and grab that fresh breath of air…when I notice a filter a few feet from my porch. OH MY GOD! I say to myself. SHE LEFT A TRAIL OF BUTTS THAT LEAD TO A PILE OF BUTTS MY COUNTRY FRIED REDNECK MOTHER DUMPED INTO MY BUSHES! WHICH WAS ABOUT A FOOT FROM THE GARBAGE CAN!!!!
Rich, I am a very patient man. Granted this may not come across this way with the Atypical Reads sometimes, but I really am a calm little spirit of creativity. But what’s a guy to do!? In case you did not know this, it is considered acceptable practice for people to dump their ashtrays outside the house and have it considered compost or tray that will eventually make its way to a street drain. I cannot wrap my head around this! *sigh* such is life in the south I guess.
You sir, crack me up. I too snicker to myself when I think of the sushi eating marine biologist. Perhaps her true motivation was because cigarette butt eating fish taste nasty. Being a consumer of fish myself, and were I head of the marketing for all the marine preservation societies on the planet, I’d start off a new no littering campaign with this slogan, “Littering in the Ocean makes seafood taste like ass… quit it!”
Hmm, maybe it could use a little refinement, but I do feel it’s a pretty solid start. 🙂
hey, just came across this website by typing oh my god in the google search. Which is super funny after reading your article. You are a great writer. I really mean that. Nice to put a face to that article too.
Thanks Shannon, I’m glad you enjoyed the story. My wife recently took this ladies lead and did the same type of thing when she saw a younger kid dump his garbage out of his car while he was parked in a parking lot. After their little chat he promptly got out of his car and picked up all his trash and placed it in a nearby trash can. 🙂