Editor's Column: Plastic bags make the world go round

There’s always bread in our bread drawer, but finding it can be a challenge.

First you have to dig through the empty plastic bags from Albertson’s, Safeway, Saars, Pay-Less, K-Mart, and the other upper-crust establishments where I spend my shopping time. This greatly frustrates my wife who feels one should easily be able to find bread in the bread drawer, just as you can instantly find a knife in the knife drawer. She doesn’t seem to understand that the knife drawer is too skinny to hold all those plastic bags and that the empty bags make finding the bread a challenge. Who doesn’t need more challenges in this mundane world we live in? Just the other day I tackled the task of finding the bread and discovered the mother lode. Far below a relatively fresh loaf of sourdough just below the surface of the plastic were other bags containing four moldy English muffins, two graying bagels and some whole grain bread that had mysteriously sprouted and was ready to harvest. Way back in the corner was one unidentifiable blob of fuzzy gray matter which I hoped wasn’t one of the kids’ brains left there before some Friday night on the town. There was enough fungi growth in this single drawer to keep a high school biology class studying for an entire semester.

Such bread drawer adventures could be eliminated simply by pulling out all the plastic bags. Then the bread would be easy to find and the chances of unseen bread moldering away for weeks would be nil. But that would mean my supply of plastic bags would be gone and life as I know it would come to an end.

Plastic bags from grocery and retail stores form the backbone of my day-to-day life. Without them, I’d be stuck. What to wrap that leftover chicken leg in? Saran Wrap, perhaps, but a plastic bag is so much easier and cheaper. All our leftovers go into plastic bags before being placed in the refrigerator or freezer before being tossed out, and I feel like I’m getting away with something. I save enough in Saran Wrap costs each year to send the dog to obedience school if only he’d do what I say and agree to attend. Cakes, watermelons, pies and cookies all sit on the counter under the protection of a plastic bags. If fancy guests are coming over, I replace the Albertson’s bag with a Nordstrom model.

The uses of plastic bags are endless and some not so obvious. If it’s rainy and windy, poke a couple of eye holes in the bag, pull it over your head and hang on to the handles — the perfect way to walk to the mailbox. Poke four holes and take the dog for a walk — he stays dry and you don’t have to clean up after him. If the wind’s howling, plastic bags make excellent kites for kids. Tie some fishing line to the handles and let’er fly — use a really big bag from a shopping mall if you never want to see the kid again. If you need to rob a bank, do it with a plastic bag over your head. The cops will have one clue — he shops at Safeway — but who doesn’t?

Every shopping trip ends with the food unloaded and the empty bags shoved into the bread drawer. I can’t imagine life any other way. But my wife is right about one thing. Peanut butter and jelly don’t taste so good when spread on a plastic bag.

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