Is This You? The straw poll

What does it say about me that I know which fast food place has the best straws?

There are the ones with those skinny straws. No good. You have to use too much suck to get the liquid down your gullet. There are the ones that have not yet learned to offer longer straws with the super mega two fisted drink so huge it could flood a small country. Also no good. You end up with your face inside the cup trying to suck up that last inch or so of soda, not at all attractive to your date. One establishment I go to uses straws that are paper. This is the only place I know of that still uses paper straws. They don’t ask, “Paper or plastic?” It’s paper only.

Yes paper straws. They are, well were, versatile. Of course for use as a straw, but also for crafty people to mix paint or glue and glitter. Great fire starters, and good pea shooters, I have heard… Some youngsters have never even seen a paper straw let alone sucked down a 5-cent Coke with one. But the paper straws, even with their somewhat waxy infusion, had a tendency to collapse thus leaving the, ahem, sucker, stranded mid soda. Also not a good scenario.

Then came along the plastic straw we all know and love today. Of course there also are glass straws, but not a good thing for those of us who chew on our straws, Yee-ouch! Oh and silver straws, for those whose families ran out of silver spoons to be born with tucked inside entitled mouths. Me, I was born with my foot in my mouth and I regularly place it there to this day. Taking me back to my roots. Anyway…

The last straw I want to bring up, (get it — straw, suck, bring up ... OK moving on), that last straw is the one with the bendy neck. Invented in 1937 by a guy who watched his daughter struggle to drink that aforementioned 5-cent Coke. Anyway, this straw is used primarily, well in my somewhat limited travels, in hospitals. To aid the patient in choking down the pills needed for recovery while lying flat on their back in a bed icky enough that even bed bugs will not nest in. Yuck.

A little tip for you to put in your pocket in case this need ever arises.

Let’s say you’re horizontal, or nearly horizontal in bed and need to drink from a bendy necked straw. You find that between the cup and the straw, you are about three lip lengths too far away to wrap your lips around the straw. Well try turning the straw around. Then the short part is in the cup and the long part reaches your by now dry, chapped, flaking lips. Ah, can’t you just taste that hospital water now!

Yes, the straw. Such a versatile little mischief maker. I’m pretty sure MacGyver could save the world with one. I have seen the walrus impersonation done by placing two straws under a top lip and aarrging like what was supposed to be a walrus, apparently in mating distress. Even once saw someone put chewed gum on one end and blow a bubble. Now that’s talent!

What is it about these little unassuming hollow plastic tubes that at one time or another can bring out the kid in us all?

It’s the fact they are free with every fill up, of soda. If we had to pay extra for straws would we use them as freely as we do? Would we bring home extras and stuff them everywhere? I do this. Would we jam extra straws in our car glove boxes, (I do this too) just in case we find ourselves stranded in the desert next to an abandoned well and need to stick fifty or so straws together to make a pole to reach water, if they were not free? Probably not. (Hence the “straw pole” title of this do dah, just took me a while to get there).

Speaking of bringing home the extra straws let me end here by saying yes I have a stash of the colorful beauties. I must admit I even bought a straw holder at a flea market to hold them. No doubt it once held only paper straws.

But I use straws quite regularly. Not at all like the stash of little ketchup, mustard, dipin’ sauces, and a multitude of tiny condiments which clog the back of the bottom shelf of my refrigerator, that are apparently also free with the purchase of food items. I just adore free.

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at


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