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Clean up

August 18, 2011 - John Mehno
Because I have virtually nothing to do, I was watching some of the programming on Comcast's On Demand service.

The Pirates have some shows there, and one of them features Joe Klimchak, the team's commercial guy, in-game host and all-around presence, doing various jobs around the park. For one two-part show, he temporarily joined the clean-up crew, scrubbing down PNC Park after a Saturday night game in advance of a Sunday afternoon game.

Naturally, the place was a mess. Spilled drinks leaked in the aisles, half-full cups were left behind in cupholders, nacho cheese fused peanut shells to the floor. Cleaning up is quite a job.

The purpose of the piece was to show what a large task it is, but it made me wonder: Does anyone ever clean up after themselves? You can't get out of the seats without passing trash bins. Does anyone ever actually gather up their leftovers and drop them in the trash cans? It wouldn't take much effort. Are people so busy with other things that they can't grab the trash and stash it?

There are places in the world where the citizens wouldn't even think of leaving a mess. Part of the culture is to show consideration for others. It's mostly little things -- don't spit on the sidewalk, don't leave a half-gnawed soft pretzel in a spot where someone else will be sitting in 12 hours. We don't bother with that. Game over? OK, make sure you have the cell phone and car keys, and let's go.

Some spills are inevitable when 35,000 people gather. But it doesn't have to be the mess that it is.

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