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Eric Douglas: We learned to respect others in kindergarten

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A few days ago, I was sitting in a fast food restaurant parking lot, waiting for my order to come to the car.

I never did figure out the delay, but at least it was hot when it finally arrived five minutes later.

Sitting there, I had plenty of time to look around. As I did, a truck came through the drive-thru behind me. The driver got his food faster than I did, because he pulled away around me.

As the truck passed me, the man behind the wheel took the paper wrapper off his straw and threw it out his window onto the ground. It would have been easy for him to remove the wrapper and put it in the bag with his food, but, nope, right on the parking lot to blow away.

For the record, it was a shiny red, late-model truck with a “Friends of Coal” license plate and the driver was clearly an adult. I only mention that because I don’t want someone to think, “Oh, it was just some kid. You know kids today.”

No, this was an adult with a job.

For the record, my wife and I agreed on a term for the man in the truck. It was less than flattering.

You’re probably thinking, “You’re making an awfully big deal out of a paper straw wrapper.” To me, it shows a lack of respect for people around you. And indicates that he’s likely to throw other trash on the ground.

Cigarette butts are no different. If you think it’s OK to throw your butts out the window of your car when you drive down the road, you’re wrong. It’s nasty. Get a car ashtray and dispose of them properly.

According to one source I found, “The filters on cigarettes – four-fifths of all cigarettes have them – are made of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that is very slow to degrade in the environment. A typical cigarette butt can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years to decompose, depending on conditions.”

I could go on about the environment or trashing the planet, but for me this is a sign of a different problem. It’s a total lack of respect for other people.

Or turned the other way, pure selfishness. To me, that sounds like you failed to learn some of the basic lessons my teachers taught me in kindergarten.

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at

Funerals for Saturday, August 24, 2019

Barron, Dennis - 11 a.m., Airborne Church, Martinsburg.
Baylor, Elizabeth - 1 p.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.
Bonds Jr., Patrick - 1 p.m., King of Glory International Ministries, Charleston.
Burgess, Corey - 5 p.m., Aldersgate United Methodist Church.
Burns, Helen - 11 a.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Inc., Grantsville.
Caldwell, Gary - 6 p.m., Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.
Casto, Carroll - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Eleanor.
Casto, Roger - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.
Duty, Fred - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.
Fisher, Bernard - 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.
Gwinn, Lloyd - Noon, Church of Christ, Craigsville.  
Habjan, Nathan - 1 p.m., Wilson-Smith Funeral Home, Clay. 
Hall, Daniel - Noon, Witcher Baptist Church.
Hinkle, Ethel - Noon, Church of Christ, Craigsville.  
Hoffman, Bruce - 2 p.m., Foglesong - Casto Funeral Home, Mason.  
Kinder, Siegel - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.
Kyler, Virgil - 11 a.m., Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Reedy.
Palmer, William - 1 p.m., Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston. 
Raynes Sr., Steven - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.
Truman, James - 2 p.m., Newton Baptist Church, Newton.
Turner, Keith - Noon, Full Gospel Assembly,  Huntington. 
Webb, Antoinette - 11 a.m., SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Oak Hill.
Wilson, Greg - Noon, Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.
Withrow, James - 1 p.m., Cooke Funeral Home Chapel, Cedar Grove.