PETA's future is secure (in case you were worried)

"Mom, you can't use paper plates," Chase says early this morning.

"Why not?"

"Because if you use up all the resources of the world, there won't be anything left. WE HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT!"

First, it's not even eight o'clock in the morning yet. Conservation and peace talks should never begin before eight. Secondly, I respect your position and have a truly GREAT [read mildly concerned] interest in preserving the environment. But can't we work on saving the world once I've had some breakfast? Can't I at the very least have had a diet coke before you start accusing me of destroying our planet? No, I actually can't. Because I know that once I have a diet coke, greedily consume its lifesaving contents, and throw the can in the trash - you will angrily open the trash and pull it out. I will then get a long lecture on recycling. Which will, no doubt, lead to your passionate plea for the preservation of animal habitats all over the world that are being destroyed. You've come to tears before when talking about this issue. REAL tears. And if by some small chance, I can get that can in the trash when you're not looking, you will dig through garbage to find it. I have reduced you to recycling BEHIND MY BACK. You are forced to sneak around when we're not looking and right our wrongs. I gotta love and respect you for that, kid.

"But Chase, these paper plates come from trees that have already fallen to the ground," I vainly attempt to say.

All right, stop looking at me like that. "How about this, I promise to recycle my diet coke cans if you will let me occasionally use paper plates. Deal?"

"Deal," he says.

And considering the large quantities of diet coke consumed daily in this household (not to mention the three or four I'll guzzle to get me through this morning), we ought to have preserved a few acres of rain forest.

Now go eat your pancakes.