Parks and Wreck

When I was precocious middle schooler, my friends and I reveled in the ability to discretely trash movie theaters. It was our first taste of independence and the darkness concealed our carpet bombing of candy, popcorn and soda.

But that was in middle school, when even good kids are bad. I often thought of those days during my years of food service work and felt like any table littered with everything but a decent tip was some sort of karmic retribution for those PG-13 escapades.

I was recently reminded for a different reason, however, during one of the Desert Lorax’s Saturday pick-up ultimate frisbee games at Columbia Point Park in Richland.

The well-maintained field there allows for barefoot play, but this particular Saturday presented a minefield of sharp plastic shards left over from some sort of picnic. Several knives and shattered clear plastic cups created the greatest hazard, and freshly dampened napkins or toilet paper provided a slimy contrast.

I’m assuming the offenders had enjoyed their time in the park and it seems counter-intuitive to trash a treasured public facility like that. Perhaps the behavior came from a sense of entitlement, that since our tax dollars support the parks department, then we are already paying for someone else to clean it up.

But that’s just as immature as my middle school actions.

-- Kai-Huei Yau is a Herald staff photographer and blames Kermit the Frog for climate change. You can read his weekly photo blog every Friday at