The actual, bona fide, fish-killing last straw
My Sentiments Exactly
Remember the original Flo? No, not the Progressive Insurance gal.
I’m talking about the factionary waitress who worked for the pretend boss Mel at the made-up diner of the same name in the 1970s / ’80s sitcom “Alice.” I loved that show.
It’s the story of a young widow who scoops up her preteen son to hit the open road from Jersey to sunny California to start a brand new life. Along the way, she winds up having to take a waitressing job at Mel’s Diner. There, she befriends her fellow waitresses, sweet but simple Vera and sassy, streetwise Flo.
Flo often invited Mel, as well as various cooks, patrons or boyfriends who irritated her to, “Kiss my grits!”
I thought of her as my family sauntered into a Mel’s-ish diner one recent Saturday morning.
Not only did it look and feel like Mel’s, but we actually got Flo as our waitress. She took an immediate dislike to me.
After I ordered a garden salad versus the lard-laden breakfasts my boys requested, I said sheepishly, “Could I please get a straw?” For my diet cola, natch.
I swear she’d have hit me with a frying pan if she could have. She launched into a tirade against me as she tossed down one for each of us into the middle of the table.
According to Flo 2019, I am single-handedly killing every fish in the Atlantic because I use the occasional straw.
Yep. I was straw shamed times about a bazillion and 47.
As I began to defend myself, she abruptly left — presumably to sprinkle my salad with syrup … of ipecac.
Look, Flo, I LOVE Mother Earth! When I lived out in the country, I collected recyclable materials and took them to the donation site because they didn’t offer home recycling there.
I always cut up the plastic six-pack rings holding my soda cans together into super tiny pieces so none of God’s creatures great or small chokes on them.
I never EVER litter and will not tolerate it on my watch here on the third rock.
I remember the 1970s PSA with the crying Native American who crosses the garbage strewn river to a polluted city where he’s pelted with fast food garbage. I still want to punch the drive-by litterbug in the face!
Look man, my family was green and organic before they were catch phrases, you dig?
We did compost piles because Pop fertilized the top layer naturally. We used margarine containers until they disintegrated under the spigot — where we washed dishes by hand as opposed to using a water and electricity guzzling dishwasher.
Don’t tell me I don’t care about the environment. Shoot, you know electric car Ed Begley Jr. has been driving around since the late 1970s? I lent that to him.
Okay, that’s not true. But I’ve tried the straw alternatives, honest.
Paper straws are weird. They collapse, auto-reshape, melt and disintegrate. And they taste icky. Silicone ones are funky and get all moldy and smelly and what not. Stainless steel ones are just bizarre — it’s like drinking from a dental spittoon.
Besides, we’ve made so many advances, why the heck can’t we recycle straws?
Oh well, I was going to recommend that place to Guy Fieri, but not now. Kiss my grits, Flo.
And if it’s any consolation, your tip got recycled to our next restaurant server — who smiled and automatically gave me a straw.
Kimerer is a Trib / Vindy columnist who thinks being berated for sipping is the last straw. Check out her other dumb puns at www.patriciakimerer .com. Catch up with Patty’s past columns by clicking the “Life” tab at www.tribtoday. com