August 29, 2002
This is the thing: bendy straws are like little plastic tubes of unfulfilled promise. The articulation, the flexibility, that's the appeal, right? But is it such a hardship to lean in on a drink when you're sipping? Is it, you lazy bastard? Do you need that kink to give your drink some lateral motion? Is that really what it's all come down to?
They're deceptive in the wrapper, too. You don't know that's the bendy lurking in there. It could be a plain ole' straw. That bulging in the wrapper where the ridges lie waiting... it's too subtle. Offer me some extra-wrapper affordance of the threat of articulation lying within!
You know how many times I've unwrapped a bendy, gone for the thumb-on-the-end jamming it through the lid of the drink move, and had the business end go akimbo because I hadn't noticed it was a flexible straw and I was pushing the wrong end through the lid? Plenty. Straws, in my world, ought to be bidirectional. Orientation insensitive.
You know who bendy straw wants to be? That fucking loopy thing. The roller coaster straw made of heavy-grade plastic that required your mom to wash it out when you used it to drink milk because otherwise it would've gotten stinky from old milk. That's the real deal, Holyfield. That's where the money is in nonlinear pneumatic beverage delivery systems. Plus, you get to watch the fluid navigate the hydraulic system on its way to your greedy face. You have the option of reversing the flow, too, and watching your toxic carbon dioxide flow out through the straw, pushing the milk back, back, back, away, until you're making bubbles in the glass. That's fucking science right there.
So crane your neck, friend. Extend over the cup and get your giraffe on. Don't ask the straw to throw a jaunty dog leg in its path just to bring that drink closer, ever closer, to thee. Put some effort in. Sure, every once in a while, indulge in that bendy. Grab the ends and pull it to its full length, undo the accordian and revel in the potential. But don't get lazy, don't lose site of the fundamentals. Stick with the straight straw.
Discussions about flexible straws, huh? Trivial? Absolutely. But what if there were, say, some larger point? What if I were pleased that my audience could accept that I'm both for and against them? What if we could use an example that pointless to see ... Read More