Industry giants like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and American Airlines, as well as entire cities like Seattle and Vancouver are swearing off plastic straws. With more legislation in the works and businesses jumping on the bandwagon, it won't be long until straws are banned for good.
Chopsticks, Thai take-out container, I want to thank you for traveling from so far to be here. Your presence is a testament to our fallen comrade, our friend, Straw.
Straw, buddy, you had quite the run. No one makes it out of this world unscathed. And no one knew that better than you.
Straw was like a father to me. As a paper cup, I often felt overwhelmed, sometimes empty. Straw was always there, guiding me, and helping me keep my head on straight.
Individual Hellman’s packet, paper coffee sleeve: you were never on Straw’s level, and yet he treated you like peers. That was Straw through and through.
Straw was bend-ied, swirled into boiling hot coffee, and chewed anxiously during countless first dates during his time here on earth. I once saw Straw so twisted around some freshman’s knuckles in Ann Arbor, I thought he would snap. But he never did.
Some may credit the polypropylene. Me? I call that grit. Bar napkin, paper coaster: you’ve got some big shoes to fill in that department.
Who can forget Straw’s on-again, off-again relationship with that corrugated paper sleeve? I myself loved when he just wore that thing as a beanie, sticking out of a diet coke on a diner counter. That’s the thing about Straw, he knew how to live.
And when the Courtneys, the Tiffanys, and the Brookes of the world didn’t want their teeth getting coffee-stained, who showed up? Straw soldier-ed his way through more half-cafs with almond milk than you could ever imagine. He even started to love it. He told me once, he said, “Cup, I don’t know why these girls need me in their hot drinks, but I can’t get enough of that pink lip gloss all over my body.” Straw, you were a sick puppy, but we loved you, man.
Straw really knew how to make me laugh, and that’s how I’d like to remember him. Not clogging up the intestines of some pelican or weaved into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch like the lies that have been told about my best friend, but as he lived, in sodas and smoothies, and occasionally cut up and shoved up a nose to more efficiently facilitate drug use, filling in for our good friend Dollar Bill.
Speaking of, Bill, I wish you a full recovery as you try and make your way back into circulation. Guys like you are fewer and far between these days.
But I’m here to focus on the good times, who can forget the Krazy craze of the 90s? I remember one time, Straw, he was all into neon then, got himself all tangled up in the mob scene in Jersey? Had to do with waste management, the recycling union. He told this guy at the plant, “Either you start incorporating FDA grade silicone in the 8-inch plastic model or I walk.” Man, what a guy. Those were the free-wheeling days, before the dark times for us single-uses.
Straw had integrity, but he could also be flexible. Usually around the top where you put your mouth. God, remember when he wore that red stripe for like, years? “It’s slimming!” he used to say. I’d love just one more chance to see him, in his element, getting banged out of that sleeve in the Starbucks’ milk and sugar area like a champ.
Was I in love with him? I guess the better question is, who wasn’t?
Wooden coffee stirrer, remember when Straw convinced you that the barista went through 45 toothpicks a day? Dude, the look on your face was priceless! God, he made life fun.
I guess those are the things I’ll cherish most. Life is short, and only time will tell when Howard Schultz will come for me as well.
As we begin to move forward, without Straw, there’s one thing we can do to carry on his memory. Remember what Straw always embodied—that when life isn’t fair and the tides of change and some environmental activists relegate you to history, sometimes you just have to suck it up.