Joco Diversions

The best way to end the plastic straw problem? Slap a designer label on reusable ones

Sherry Kuehl has a brilliant idea for replacing these plastic straws.
Sherry Kuehl has a brilliant idea for replacing these plastic straws. Special to The Star

I’ve seen the future and it’s straw free. Well, to be accurate, plastic straw free. I had this epiphany when I was on the West Coast and discovered that plastic straws were verboten. I was OK with this because I was given a perky paper straw with my beverage so I was thinking, “Yay for non-plastic straws!”

This enthusiasm lasted until I used the paper straw and after about 30 seconds, it disintegrated into my $5 iced blueberry black tea lemonade. Sadly, a paper straw isn’t a flavor enhancer and the chunks of paper floating in my iced tea didn’t exactly bellow, “Drink me!” My next beverage outing included a straw made from wheat stems. It held up better than a paper straw but the sipping process was still lackluster.

These experiences emboldened me to go totally straw free the remainder of my West Coast sojourn. That’s right, I actually sipped my beverages straight from their containers: glass or cup. And it wasn’t easy. Straws have made us lazy.

My mother, always a woman ahead of her time, was the first person I knew that was anti-straw. True story — she didn’t allow straws in the house. The reason wasn’t that she was a crusading environmentalist. No, her straw ban was predicated on the fact that using a straw was the number one cause of lip wrinkles.

My Southern mama, who used Pond’s cold cream every night of her life and whose favorite words of wisdom were “moisturizer will never let you down” was a zealot against wrinkles and saw the straw as the enemy. (She also thought that you could judge a person’s IQ by their neck. Her theory was people with neck wrinkles showed a lack of intelligence and commitment to a task because they didn’t have the wherewithal to continue the moisturizing process below the chin.)

The day I knew I had finally reached adulthood was when I had the backbone to sip on a straw in my mother’s presence. All she said was a very curt: “Well, maybe wrinkles will suit you.”

I admit to loving straws and perhaps it’s born out of the straw deprivation of my youth. You also can’t discount that straws make drinking easier, especially in a car where Americans now average an hour a day. In fact, upon doing an online “straw lifestyle inventory” (yes, there is such a thing), I discovered that almost all of my straw usage was on beverages I purchased via a drive-up window.

This makes perfect sense because very few mortals have the skill to drink from a lidless cup and drive. My daughter suggested the easiest way to solve my “strawless while driving” issue was to invest in some reusable straws. I could even be “extra” and get silver straws that come in a monogrammed holder.

I was intrigued by this idea. A silver straw would certainly class up my morning McDonald’s Diet Coke experience. Maybe I can even extend my pinkie as I daintily clutch my 32-ounce beverage.

If we want to end American’s obsession to plastic straws, this is how to do it — just make something perceived as “classy” and slap a logo on it.

For instance, if you want teenage girls to quit using straws, have Lululemon make reusable ones. And if Louis Vuitton comes out with a reusable straw collection, every mom currently not obeying the rules of the school drop-off line will suddenly become ardent reusable straw fanatics.

Now excuse me while I select the monogram for my straw case. Do I want interlocking or a diamond?

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs on Instagram @snarky.in.the.suburbs, and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.
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