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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

And the Sign said...

June 11, 1980

The sign said: Poluted water. No fishing, swimming or drinking.
It surprised me as to why they bothered. The stream down into the river had been poluted for years, brown crud thick on the concrete wall with a stench equally disgusting.
Who would be crazy enough to swim in it? But then, this is New Jersey, and people will do just about anything here, stupid or not, and I'd seen little black kids swimming in the canal on hot days and it was as poluted as this. The fact is a recent report said the Passaic River was victim to tons of trash from the local factories, all of it legally permitted as to not disrupt profits or jobs. Who knows what diseases were therein contained, or how badly those black kids suffered after their relief from the heat, or how much the corporate executives cared.
"We all gotta go some time," they might tell me. As for drinking the stuff, we all did that. It came out of our fausets daily with the stink and the stain, filtered, yes, but who knew how well or what we'd all suffer in years to come. And here, sitting beside it all on a slimy green stone, I sip my coffee wondering where the diner got its water.

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