The last time I wrote, at length, on the virtues of drinking beer with a straw on a Sunday morning wasn’t a big hit with Grandma Murray.

You see, it was 1984. There I was, in quite a large photo, on a section front of The Edmonton Journal, enjoying one of my favourite beers with a blue plastic straw.

Grandma was so humiliated by the photo she sat in the very last pew at the south end of Trinity United Church … by herself. As soon as the service ended, she rushed out to the car, skipping visiting in the foyer, fearing she might be asked about her grandson sipping a beer in the Sunday paper.

Sorry, Grandma. It’s all in a day’s work.

Which is why I’m compelled for another Sunday straw story. Because, my drinking problem may get worse.

Oh, no: not the typical type of drinking problem you might think.

See, I live with cerebral palsy and lifting a glass to my mouth without spilling, frankly, doesn’t happen.

So, I use straws to drink everything: water, coffee, martinis and even expensive wine.

In fact, one evening when we ordered to vintage bottle of the grape, our waiter very cleverly quipped: “Let me go see if I can find you a 50-year-old straw to complement your wine.”


But, a straw of such age would probably be a paper straw.

I never have got along with paper straws.

To be honest, though, I can’t remember the last time I used a paper straw. So, I’m mentally preparing myself to get ready for paper straws.

Perhaps you’ve heard: Starbucks, one of my favourites, announced it will be banning plastic straws by 2020. American Airlines flew in the game, too, and said plastic straws will be a thing of the past, replacing them with stir sticks.

Ever try enjoying a 10-ounce soda pop with a stir stick? It takes forever.

But the real issue here is the return of paper straws.

I’ll be blunt: I eat them. Chomp right now on them. And, after three or four sips, which automatically turn into heavy bites, the paper straw is flat. Real flat.

Despite employing heavy suction, I end up with a mouthful of paper and very little — if any — of the beverage in my mouth.

Plastic straws never do that.

The paper straw thing has me concerned, even though I am conscious of environmental things.

If the coffee giant Starbucks is eliminating plastic straws, you can bet others will follow. And that’s a concern when you are given an unexpected beverage in an unexpected place, but you need a straw.

(I could, of course, carry a pack of straws with me, but that would take the fun away, wouldn’t it?)

I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve popped into a fast food establishment to get a straw.

My fear is those straws are paper, which will not be pleasant.

That’s not my only worry, though.

I’ve just written 500 words on the downfall of paper straws.

I really hope it doesn’t suck.


Written by 

Follower of Christ, husband, father, grandfather, Edmonton Sun columnist, Oiler Entertainment Group writer, co-author of Disabled? Hell No! I’m a Sit-Down Comic, speaker, comedian, Challenge Insurance special projects advisor, former Edmonton Journal columnist, vice-cjair of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and closet Beverly Hillbillies mega fan and (very small) closet disco singer.