Cardella: The Last Straw

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Until recently, I never thought much about straws. Except on one occasion when I was eating lunch with a dear friend. She normally has very tidy eating habits. Not on this one unfortunate day, though. During our lunch, when she went to sip her iced tea, the straw got stuck in one of her nostrils and seemed almost to penetrate her cranial cavity. I did my best to ignore her plight while she extricated the straw. It DID make normal conversation difficult. We remain great friends. She may have been left with a pathological fear of drinking straws. And I remain intrigued about the potential use of straws to clear sinuses. But now straws have become part of our nation’s continuing political controversy.

The Trump campaign has raised almost a half-million dollars selling 9-inch-long red plastic straws branded with the name “Trump.” The straws are biodegradable and also reusable, although I suggest that if you slip and a Trump straw enters one of your nostrils, you discard it. The Trump Straw is sold in packages of 10 for a mere $15.

Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, got the idea for these straws after a paper straw he was using broke. The Trump Straw’s product description claims that “liberal” paper straws don’t work. Frankly, I’m not sure if paper straws are considered liberal because they tilt to the left when used or because they fall apart when challenged.

Please know that I’ve never tried a Trump Straw, and it’s not because I don’t want to cooperate in making straws great again. It’s just that I need to keep at least one part of my life free of politics. I don’t think it’s unreasonable of me to question, however, Trump’s affinity for the color red. MAGA baseball caps are also red. Could the use of red be a secret signal to Vladimir Putin? Is this an area that is being ignored despite the many investigations into the link between the Trump family and Russia? True, there was no smoking gun in the Mueller Report, but is this eerie link the last straw that finally holds the key to evidence of collusion? Does Adam Schiff know about this?

Liberals have sent mixed messages regarding drinking straws and plastic bottles. Originally, I thought plastic bottles were the ecological problem. Then it was drinking straws. I was in a quandary because I’m one of those folks who wants to support a clean environment, but at the same time, refuses to give up his FIJI water. If I can find a way to put aside my politics, the Trump drinking straw may be the solution to my dilemma. Should I feel better about the president’s pulling out of the Paris climate accord because he’s come up with reusable drinking straws? And are his straws any better than Trump steaks?

With this debate about drinking straws, I decided to delve into their history. Drinking straws, according to the website EATING UTENSILS.net, are among the world’s oldest “eating utensils.” They became popular during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s. But in reality, the earliest drinking straws date to over 5,000 years ago, when Sumerians made them out of gold and precious stones such as lapis lazuli. Just think how much campaign money Trump could raise selling gold straws. There’s a rumor that a Sumerian ancestor of the president, Titus Trumpus, was inordinately fond of gold straws and was convicted of hoarding. Recently, archeologists found a papyrus copy of the Sumerian Times with the headline TRUMPUS CLAIMS CAIRO IS A RAT INFESTED S-HOLE.

Scientists claim that Sumerians used straws to drink beer. That seems rather effeminate to me. I can’t imagine manly Sumerians sidling up to the bar and requesting draws out of which to drink their Bud. I’m thinking that only Sumerian snowflake liberals used straws to drink their beer.

In 1888, an Ohian named Marvin C. Stone created the first modern drinking straw. Marvelous Marv made the first drinking straw by wrapping paper around a pencil and applying a thin layer of glue. Ingenious, eh? Why didn’t my grandfather Cornelius Cardella think of that? Marv’s straws no longer turned to mush in strong alcoholic beverages, but the glue likely led to some incidents where the straw stuck to the user’s lip and had to be either surgically removed or become a permanent lip ornament.

Along came Joseph Friedman to save the day. Many folks using Marv’s straw found that their medical insurance didn’t cover surgical procedures to remove straws from their lip. Insurance companies claimed that such surgeries were cosmetic in nature. After all, thousands of young Americans wore glued-on straws as lip ornaments, just as they wear metal lip rings today. Being an enterprising chap, Joe Friedman invented the “bendy straw.” Researchers are uncertain whether the name “bendy” was a reference to the fact that the straws bent or whether “bendy” was the name of a popular character in a Walt Disney-like comic book.

The “bendy straw” became quite fashionable in both America and Europe. Unfortunately, Joe’s straw was not biodegradable. The “bendy straw” is blamed for destroying half of the fish population in the world. Scores of these dead fish washed up on tropical islands around the world, “bendy straws” imbedded in their gills.

Thankfully, Trump has now saved the day. ••

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