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Commentary: Printing on one side of the page

Of all the slanders against attorneys and terrible suggestions for improving the profession, the most pernicious is that lawyers are tree killers for all the paper we use. They say we should use both sides of the paper when writing briefs and recycle as much paper as possible.

Well, I don’t use both sides of the page for briefs.

Let me note that I am a great proponent of recycling things that should be recycled.

I do not buy a brand new 2010 Buick every day. Instead, I drive the same 1995 Buick Roadmaster, with a 5.7 liter, V-8 engine, and rear-wheel drive every day, and I intend to continue to do so for 10 more years.

That makes me much more environmentally responsible than drivers of hybrids that will be garbage 8 years after they leave the lot, because the cost of a new battery will exceed the value of the vehicle itself.

I also wear the same old clothes, over and over, until they fall off my back, rather than purchase a new outfit every morning.

However, I do not, and I will not, recycle trash that properly belongs in a landfill, like paper.

Paper is the epitome of a sustainable resource – it is not a diminishing, non-renewable resource, as Progressives contend.

Paper is not harvested from old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, nor from rain forests in Costa Rica. Paper comes from trees that are basically weeds, planted for the sole purpose of manufacturing paper.

They are planted; they are harvested; and they are replanted; again and again, for one purpose – more paper. And paper sent to a landfill quickly breaks down.

Berating attorneys for killing trees is as ridiculous as berating bakers for killing all the pretty wheat stalks.

Furthermore, recycling paper imposes social costs. Regular toilet paper, manufactured from trees, is dirt cheap. But, toilet paper made from recycled paper is three times as expensive, and it feels like sandpaper.

So, when someone spends money on a “green” product, he has paid a ridiculously high price for garbage, and the seller laughs at him. The seller knows he has sold low-quality goods at three times the price that an honest capitalist would charge for quality goods.

Meanwhile, legitimate workers like lumberjacks lose work and must pay taxes to subsidize the scam.

The other night, I delivered the preceding diatribe in the most pietistic tone I could muster to a friend of mine. I expected its righteousness would be self-evident and she would renounce recycling forever.

Do you know what she said instead?

“You need to get married.”


“You need to find yourself some pretty attorney, who’s as much of a right-wing extremist as you are, and marry her,” she said. “Then the two of you can pollute the environment to your hearts’ content, with crystal clear consciences, and stay home in the evening in your oak-paneled home, instead of haranguing the rest of us.”

Her description of marital bliss was enticing. I figured that all I needed to do was find a nice woman who knows that Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905), was correctly decided.

But then I realized that once we had kids, they’d have to go to socialist-environmentalist churches called “schools,” to be brainwashed by “teachers.” The kids would probably dig through our trash, fishing out “recyclables,” cry whenever I took a chainsaw to a tree in the back yard, and generally bring discord into our happy non-recycling home.

So I’ve decided to remain a bachelor and a scourge.


  1. For all these years, I’ve looked for the perfect example of pulp fiction. Finally, an author writes true fiction about pulp.

    Anyone who thinks legal papers should be two-sided has never had to leaf through a top-bound 2-hole-punched file and been forced to try to decipher an upside down page.

  2. but it’s not “fiction,” heep. the girl actually told me i need to get married after i lectured her on the evils of recycling paper!

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