Scrooge’s original lifestyle left a tiny carbon footprint

Scrooge was, according to modern-day dogma, right the first time.

Scrooge would, in fact, be quite comfortable with the whole business of avoiding energy use, even if it wasn’t to save the planet.

“Darkness is cheap and Scrooge liked it,” Charles Dickens wrote in “A Christmas Carol,” that widely misunderstood celebration of the yuletide season.

No smaller carbon footprint could be found anywhere than that of Ebenezer Scrooge, in fact.

Scrooge, for instance, liked his darkness, and he hated burning coal.

“Scrooge had his small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal,” Dickens wrote of the small “tank” occupied by one Bob Cratchit in the offices of Scrooge and Marley.

Cratchit, unable to stay warm that cold Dec. 24, tried to warm himself by the light of his small candle and the force of his mind, but “not being a man of strong imagination, he failed.”

Scrooge was owner of the small business that employed Cratchit, something of a good-hearted, but nonetheless hapless ne’er-do-well who hadn’t the ambition to peddle his services elsewhere. At the same time, Bob Cratchit was apparently an active participant in the making of the excess population, judging by the fact he fathered four children, well above what today would be considered the approved replacement rate.

Scrooge, on the other hand, was the paragon of modern-day responsibility for the planet.

He had no wife and he had no children, lived in the rooms previously owned by his dead partner and wasted no carbon dioxide on small talk.

His carbon footprint grew smaller with each advancing day of his life. He walked to and from work, made his way by candlelight, slept in a curtained four-poster, the curtains being all the better for preserving his body heat, and had precious few possessions: a pencil case, some sleeve buttons, “a brooch of no great value,” some boots, two silver teaspoons and a pair of sugar tongs.

Talk about treading lightly on the Earth, Scrooge could put mice to shame on the matter of carbon footprints.

His onetime intended, Belle, of course, famously went down the wrong path, married someone else, had more children than Scrooge could count during his short visit to her home with the Ghost of Christmas Past on the very day of Marley’s passing, and was apparently unaware of the devastation she was wreaking on an unsuspecting world, squirming under the weight of her ungainly size 10 carbon footprint.

Scrooge actually was being quite the responsible citizen of the world until that night when Marley’s ghost — it was all Marley’s fault in the end, you see — hauled his chains and lockboxes into Scrooge’s dip and spun the poor fellow all around.

Marley arranged three quick visits by the spirits of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come and suddenly the Scrooge who had it down pat got all mixed up.

He turned into a warm-hearted, coal-burning, light-loving, big-spending, philanthropizing, in-law-liking, kid-happy eco-disaster on wheels.

Scrooge gave Cratchit a raise even though Cratchit arrived back to work a full 18 1/2 minutes behind time on Dec. 26 — and we know what Cratchit did for the surplus population on a mere limited income — and worse yet, swore to pay for young Tiny Tim’s medical care, thus ensuring the kid’s survival.

Worst of all, Scrooge knew how to “keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”

Maybe, just maybe, Scrooge learned about something more than the yuletide that Christmas Eve.


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