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Whitey Harwood: Good intentions don’t mean it’s not littering

By Whitey Harwood

When I read the headline “Littering laws don’t apply to balloon releases,” for the “Ask Us” column published July 22, I thought of the song “Accidentally on Purpose.” George Jones sang it in 1960, and I’m going to try to write about it today.

The Ask Us answer really got me confused. 

The other day while I was having lunch, my phone rang. Hoping it would be a telemarketer, I jumped up to grab the call. On the caller ID, I could see it was my good friend from South Carolina.

I kept saying “hello,” but my friend wasn’t saying anything. So I hung up, waited 30 seconds and hit redial. He said he didn’t call me. I explained what happened. He said, “Oh, I must have butt-dialed you.”

That night about 8, I was in a deep sleep when the phone rang. I figured it must be an emergency, since people know not to call me that late at night. I answered on about the fourth or fifth ring. It was the same thing as the lunch call, no answer on the other end. After three “hellos,” I hung up. I found my glasses and hit redial.

When another friend answered, I said, “Did you mean to call me?”

He said, “Did I call you?”

“Well, somebody did from your number, cause when I hit redial, you answered,” I said.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I bet you were sleeping. I guess I pocket-dialed you,” he said.

Now that leads me to a few questions.

If the Sheriff’s Office has received no complaints about a “butt call,” is it still considered a phone call?

If the FCC addressed this matter, is a “pocket call” considered a phone call?

If there was no intention from Bill Buttcall or Paul Pocketcall to make a phone call, were the two I received actual phone calls because they made them accidentally and not on purpose?

This third phone call was an actual, intended call with a purpose.

A good friend from China Gove called to let me know the Salisbury Post had a poll online about balloon releases.

She said the choices were — “Yes, it’s littering,” “No, it’s not littering” or “I’m not sure.” Then she asked me why I thought anyone would respond to an opinion poll and answer, “I’m not sure?”

“Well, that’s them politicians for you. They can’t answer a simple yes or no question,” I said.

Then she asked me, “Wonder why anyone that’s smart enough to tie a shoe can’t understand it’s littering?”

“Well, that’s your preachers. They think those balloons are going to heaven,” I said.

Then she asked me what I thought.

I told her if you’re married and your wife gets pregnant, it might be on purpose. If you get someone else pregnant, it might be an accident. But they are both pregnant at the end of the day.

Then I asked her this final question. And I’m going to ask all readers the same one.

If a rose is a rose, and a call is a call, and pregnant is pregnant, why is litter not litter?

When someone tells me people release balloons because they have good intentions, I tell them they just have intentions. There isn’t anything “good” about it.

Whitey Harwood lives in Rowan County.

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