The last [wrapped] Straw

Lunch time comentary. April5, 2007

As I grow older, more and more change takes place in the world, and more things make me say the words; when I was a kid, or worse; back in my day…

In our youth, it’s always the old people making those remarks, and every time we catch ourselves saying it, we feel a little older.

Today, as I sit at Pizza Hut for my lunch buffet, I say it again. I remember a time when the public wasn’t terrified of drinking straws. It was last week apparently.

This week, I am inconvenienced by the individually wrapped straw with my Pepsi. An annoyance on several levels, even if minor compared to wars or poverty or health. Still, I have to wonder why the decision was made, and who profits most. Last month I was ready to sip my drink the moment it arrived, and I certainly never thought twice that I may contract any STD (sipping transmitted disease).

This week, I wonder how I lived to my ripe old 43 without incident drinking from publically handled straws.

Wrapped straws are not a new idea of course, and my childhood memories of my trips to Florida with my grandparents include many fond memories of how Grandpa would carefully tear one end and blow the paper clear across the table into my face. It’s a Grandfather classic all over I am sure.

However, I live in Canada, and a part of our national pride, relies on the fact that we are not American, and far less lawsuit crazed. Our unemployed lower class get Government assistance rather than looking for lawsuits to feed their families.

This is an almost racist generalization of course, and based on a guess that the justification for wrapping my straws is based more on fear of lawsuits than it is a real life health issue.

Many of the classic when I was a kid stories are based on things we used to do without cares that have been taken away from our freedom just because a few people sued.

So now I have to put down what I was doing, and use both hands to fiddle with my straw. While it isn’t as tricky as opening a CD case, it still offers a challenge far greater than I feel is needed. I am eating alone today, so I don’t bother with the ritual blowing, but pas experience has taught m that most of today’s warped straws are designed to disallow the practice anyway. Maybe one hit and eye once and they sued. Everything fun in life stops when eyes are at risk it seems.

I think I first noticed the trend when Burger King started it last year. No, Pizza Hut and probably many other chains I don’t frequent enough to have noticed. These two chains are American based of course, so perhaps I should be silently grateful for the years I had with free range straws.

It strikes me funny that today’s society has so many hypocritical contradictions. We’ll cut down a thousand trees to wrap our straws and please one lobby group while pissing off another.

Even as I sit here, the crumpled little snake skin wrapper in a crumple on my table bothers me. It is a waste I never had before. Eating in a restaurant used to be a compostable litter free experience.

I’m getting old I guess. Time to eat.

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