You’re gonna have to pry the straws from my cold dead hands

Today’s post is a guest contribution from BGIM friend and fellow writer Liz Henry.
First they came for my cigarettes and I said, alright, makes sense. Then, they came for my smoking outside and I said, you know, this seems like a little much but I rolled with the inconvenience of other people policing the freaking air. And then they came for my Diet Coke with a tax on sugary drinks in Philadelphia even though Diet Coke is full of not even sugar but aspartame so fine, whatever, the chilwran diabeetus. Then, they came for the straws and I knew all bets were off, the turtles were just gonna have to die.

I like beverages and I love them with straws and if that means turtles have to eat it, well then the turtles need to eat it. Even if those turtles are Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo.

Look, maybe this is making you uncomfortable. There are many moments I’ve been uncomfortable in the past few weeks when straw-banning went from low-key, under-the-radar cause to full-blown self-righteous plague. Like, for instance, the moment I came across a growing list of companies in the process of banning straws and I saw McDonald’s on that list.

I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE—the turtles had come for me and won. My eyes couldn’t move fast enough through the sentence and by the time I got there and it said, “shareholders struck down a ban” I’ve never been more proud of capitalism in my life.

I raised my Diet Coke and I toasted the motherfucking shit outta those rich white men for holding it down for straws.

So, yeah, it’s been an uncomfortable few weeks for me, too.

I’ve had conversations where we whisper to each other “team straw” because we’re in a group and unsure of the company we keep and once the whispers go around and the eyes have darted and the nods have been reciprocated we let it out that paper straws ain’t shit.

I’ve had people tell me I’m “sad” like I need saving and I want to tell them they can come to my door with that kind of attitude and ring my doorbell so I can ignore them.

I’ve gone the Jurassic Park route and doubled down on evolution: “If turtles beat out dinosaurs, I’m pretty sure they can beat straws.” And, if they can’t, well who sold us “slow and steady.” Maybe turtles shouldn’t been liars.

I’ve also thought FINE, BAN THE STRAWS. I’ll create straw speakeasies and I’ll be rich and you’ll be stuck with adult sippy cups at Starbucks with no whip but Crush from Finding Nemo as your overlord just like you wanted. COOL DUDE.

I need you to know that I stared down the totalitarian talk points of crusading do-gooders, looked them in their profile photos and said, I LOVE STRAWS, and lived to see another day.

I want you to know that when I get a fountain beverage, and put that single-serving plastic straw into my cup, I look at the person next to me and say, “I’m making a political choice and the hate makes it taste better.”

Honestly, I’m having an Allen Iverson “TALKIN ‘BOUT PRACTICE, flashback but with straws, people. STRAWS.

The strawsistence will not be played by fake news. The 500 million plastic straws Americans allegedly consume per day? That number was arrived at by a then nine-year-old conducting phone surveys of straw manufacturers in 2011. How he arrived at that number? I dunno, go pound a calculator.

According to Bloomberg, if all the alleged 8.3 billion tons of plastic straws found on global coastlines washed into the sea, they’d “account for .03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastic estimated to enter the oceans in a given year.”

The greatest threat to marine life and our oceans isn’t plastic straws, Bloomberg reports, but fishing nets and other abandoned fishing gear.

Which leaves me so freaking pumped right now that we’re making the lives of people with disabilities that much harder because Johnny Jackoff filmed a video of one turtle with a straw booger and then everyone else was like BAN STRAWS!!!

So how many straw boogers would it take for women to get some rights up in this bitch? Just spitballing here.

And that’s why, you’re gonna have to pry the straws from my cold, dead hands. Which, if that even happens, I will haunt you with a glitter plague on your home and paper cuts on your person with Melania pumped through some Bose giving Michelle’s speech ad infinitum.


Liz Henry writes good stories and makes bad choices. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post and the anthology, The Good Mother Myth. She lives in Philadelphia and marks her territory in Diet Coke.

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Photo by David McEachan from Pexels

6 thoughts on “You’re gonna have to pry the straws from my cold dead hands”

  1. Yeah, we might not agree politically on everything, but this was so funny I read it out loud to my husband–with difficulty–until I got to the part about straw boogers and was laughing so hard that it was pert near impossible to finish. Took me three tries to make myself coherent. Any of the other posters who get all huffy and condemning just prove your point: Taking an over inflated attack on something that, at best, will be a drop in the bucket and then feeling morally superior to people with common sense. Whatever. For some strange reason thinking of people like that reminds me of something I learnt about in church…what was that…ah. Right. Pharisees. Now I wonder why that came to mind…

    Your linguistic dexterity is inspiring.

  2. Yeah, we’re supposed to be all ladylike up in this bitch.

    The straw ban seems to be ill-conceived and consideration of it has totally disregarded people who NEED straws to drink.

    Thanks for the humorous take, Liz.

  3. Straws “trump” sea life and the ocean, and the food chain? Seriously? This sounds so typically science denying American. I want what I want and to hell with everything else. Is Ms. Henry really so unaware of the millions of tons of plastic garbage we humans throw into the oceans every year? This piece is selfish, foolish and of course punctuated with unnecessary profanity. I expect better from BGIM.

    • David, I’m wondering if you have been distracted by tone and missed the content and meaning? Personally, I found the tone really funny and lively. But let me ask you a question, what do you think the author is saying? Do you really think she doesn’t care about environmentalism? That’s not how I read it at all.

    • Good grief only talking about Straws and their use in drinking . You always use them if you have been taught manners ! Manners and civility are a lost art unless you are/ were raised African or with an African heritage. Check this out. I thought her piece was charming and a refreshing interlude against the lost of manners in the United States — such as choking your own political belief’s down the throat of others – that do not share your “world view “.

  4. What a refreshing but so astute article. Of course you gotta drink a Coke — diet or otherwise —with a straw. It’s called manners. As a southerner born and raised, it is no doubt but that Pepsi cohort that wants to do away with both straws and manners !

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