Archive for July, 2009

An ode to the plastic grocery bag.

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

It is critically important that I state, up front and most emphatically, that I am not one of those Neanderthals who fail to recognize the long-term needs of our beautiful planet. That does not mean though that I cannot shed a tear for the demise of that endangered species, the grocery store plastic bag. Banned, loathed, derided, despised and now expensive, they will be sorely missed by those of us whose modest role in this life is to take out the garbage.

And while we sit here, contemplating the inequity foisted upon us by well-meaning do-gooders, we also add a kind thought for the millions of dog walkers who share our recognition of the absolute necessity of those plastic bags. What are those dog lovers to do? For years, they have made special reuse of those bags. They were one-size-fits-all and fitted handily and loosely over the hand to assist in the quick pick-up of Fido’s night deposits. Are they going to forego their scooping? Are those handy containers of bags for forgetful pooch walkers going to be another polite gesture relegated to the past? Are the signs in the parks going to say ‘Please walk on the grass but watch out for poop’?

What, may I ask, is the poor parent to do when junior, once again, has left his lunch box somewhere or other? The poor parent has to resort to paper bags so kindly provided from the outrageous profits of our local liquor store. You can only do that until the little tyke learns to read and realizes that you are sending him/her to school with a bag that admonishes them that if they drink, they should not drive.

Think of the frustrated handyman who had so many uses for this most versatile of carry-alls. Consider the plight of the gardener denied a safe sack for those necessary cuttings. What do you do when returning library books on a rainy afternoon? Where is that quick expediency of a rain hat for the lady hurrying home from the beauty parlour? Where do you put all the pieces for that toaster when you realize it is beyond your technical skills to repair? Where will you look for an emergency diaper bag? The list is lengthy and diverse, the needs so dire.

Even if we forego Fido, deny offspring, watch television instead of reading, do our perms at home, discard failed appliances, let the kid scream, we are still faced with the basic item: garbage. Garbage will always be with us. In ancient times it was defenestrated but you still had to smell it when you went outside. You are not about to bring a disgusting big garbage can into your kitchen to contain your waste. Even if you live in a high-rise building, you still have to forestall drips as you take the material down the hall to where you can drop it down a chute.

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