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Volume 13, Issue 20 ~ May19 - 25, 2005
Letters to the Editor
Earth Talk
Dr. Gouin's Bay Gardener
Weekly Crab Forecast

Way Downstream

Were I Live
Bill Burton
Earth Journal
8 Days a Week
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Inside the Litterbug’s Brain

The story in Virginia of serial litterer Parvis Modaber has more than the kind of name that reporters love to spice up their stories.

Modaber, in case you missed it, was barred from setting foot in Clarke County, 99 miles west of Annapolis, after his fourth conviction for littering.

“If you’re found in Clarke County, bring your toothbrush,” the judge told him.

There was more going on here than morons on country roads. Modaber (we’ll just call him Parvis), had been a physician residing in West Virginia who lost his license to practice in Virginia, we learned from The Washington Post.

So over and over he dumped trash along Virginia roads to express his hatred for the state, his therapist claimed.

You can almost hear littering perps confess to the psychologist on an episode of Law and Order. We thought about the sins of Parvis on Sunday when we saw a toilet, complete with tank, dumped along Franklin Gibson Road in Southern Anne Arundel County.

North a few miles, near Rt. 2, someone had jettisoned a mattress that rested cockeyed in the ditch.

Had we Marylanders also done something to Parvis?

Doubtful. So why, a few miles from a welcoming Anne Arundel County landfill, does someone ditch a mattress? Was it lumpy? Did it abet nightmares?

We can’t begin to understand why someone yanks a toilet from its moorings, throws it in the truck and races into the country. What were they thinking when they saw the fixture they’ve known so well in their rear-view mirror? Did they have an accomplice? Had they done this before?

It’s easier, we think, to look into the brain of people who clean up behind the Parvis Modabers of the world.

We see them this time of year, filling Hefty Steel Sac Trash Bags with beer cans, fast food wrappings and assorted leavings from vehicles speeding by.

It’s the height of spring, azalea, honey locust and poison-ivy time, and these good citizens (are you one?) can’t abide having their vistas sullied by the litter of thoughtless people.

Veteran road warriors know that you never can take enough bags with you and that it is always wise to have a neighbor with a pick-up truck ready to gather up the bags of garbage and haul them to the dump.

It’s good, too, to travel in teams because there’s a lot to talk about and mysteries to unravel. Like, what was going on in someone’s troubled mind when this three-legged plastic chair was being tossed in the ditch.

Finishing the job will take at least three people: Two to hoist the chair, mattress and toilet onto the truck, and a third to keep an eye out for Parvis.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.