The Confidence of a Litterer

“I’m talking about shameless, capital L litterers.” In admonishment — and begrudging amazement — of those who litter with complete confidence…

by: Torrey Kurtzner

I once saw a man throw a styrofoam cup out the window of a speeding car. I marveled at the delicacy in which he released the cup as if parting ways with an adolescent dove attempting to fly for the first time. After the cup took flight, the man gingerly flicked his wrist and stretched his fingertips to the heavens, allowing them to kiss the breeze. Passing motorists reacted accordingly, hurling loud insults and lewd gestures at the man for his irresponsible act. But despite their best efforts, he never flinched. 

I wish I had the confidence of a litterer. I’m not referring to sneaky litterers who slyly discard their trash into unwanted corners of the world when no one is watching. I’m talking about shameless, capital L litterers. These borderline sociopathic law-breakers welcome confrontations with a casual shrug of the shoulders. No amount of scolding or insightful lectures will change the mind of a litterer. They live their lives without morals and are thus free from the pitfalls of anxiety. Lucky bastards. 

Imagine a life without fear. Gone are the reservations that once controlled all aspects of your waking hours. Your conscience is better than clear, it’s nonexistent. And sure, you may encounter isolation due to your inexcusable behavior, but a quick trip down memory lane proves you were plenty lonely before embracing immorality. The question is: Would you rather be lonely and anxious or lonely and free?

I don’t possess the mindset required to be a successful litterer. For starters, I care too much about the environment. I also suffer from depression, OCD, and anxiety. I’m an indecisive person who overthinks every move I make. My moral compass, though consistent, runs on stress. Confrontations scare the hell out of me. I often imagine dreadful social scenarios — the likes of which never happen — and contemplate whether I could safely evade their trappings. If it wasn’t already clear, I’m a slave to my mind, and I hate it.

I’m aware that my hardships are far from unique. Although relatability is somewhat reassuring, it doesn’t ease the growing intensity of my daily battles. I suppose that’s why I’m fascinated by litterers and their ability to live freely without a goddamn care in the world. I wish I could channel aspects of their confidence while maintaining my morality. But you can’t dip your toe in depravity while simultaneously glancing at a moral compass for direction. Being a capital L litterer requires dedication. It’s a full-time commitment to unapologetic behavior, and very few people have what it takes to succeed. 

I often wonder if litterers ever contemplate how fortunate they are to be free from anxiety. But then again, why would they ever contemplate anything? The key to their success isn’t the unlawful discarding of garbage but rather their ability to not overthink. Perhaps the real question is whether I, an empathetic person, can completely stop overthinking and rid myself of depression, OCD, and anxiety. Call me pessimistic, but at thirty-one years old, that seems far fetched. There are things I can do to help alleviate these concerns (meditation, therapy, medication, etc.), but I doubt I’ll ever have the peace of mind my littering colleagues possess. 

Knowing damn well that I’ll never have what it takes to join the ranks of litterers, I’m left to quietly marvel at their confidence while masking my envy with hatred. If any litterers are reading this, please know I’m saluting you with my right hand while flipping you the bird with my left. You inspire basket cases like me everywhere. Now, kindly go fuck yourselves.  


Torrey Kurtzner is an out-of-work writer and master of self-deprecation. Against the better judgment of his peers, he’s determined to pursue a career within the creative arts, even if it kills him. He’s on Twitter @YabbaDabbZoinks.

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