Wednesday, April 22, 2015

From Here To Eternity


That was some compelling ad copy on the plastic Palmolive dish detergent bottle. It was 30% more. Thirty percent! Thirty percent more than the 19-ounce bottle, that is. This was a 25-ounce bottle. So that's just a little free arithmetic lesson for us. They're off by three-tenths of an ounce, which is sloppy if you're trying to send a rocket to Mars, but pretty dang close for detergent.

Any way you look at it, it's more plastic. We go through a lot of plastic. Dave and I at least try to fend off some of the more egregious uses of plastic. For instance, you can buy a little plastic box with even littler plastic tubs of crackers and cheese if you want, assuming it's too much trouble to slip some crackers and a few slices of cheese into your lunch sack. Now, apparently, you can even buy a large plastic tube of individually-plastic-wrapped graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, plus some sticks. A plastic S'Mores kit.

You can sometimes purchase large plastic containers of product to decant into your smaller plastic containers; for instance, you can buy a big-ass bottle of Windex to fill up your smaller-ass bottles of Windex. You're gaining something there. There's less plastic per volume of product in the larger bottles. Except you still have to buy the bigger-ass bottle packaged with a smaller bottle and shrink-wrapped together with plastic.

So every two weeks when we take out the garbage we find there is a tremendous amount of plastic in it. Even after the plastic that is theoretically recyclable has been sieved out. I have my doubts about the recycling. I suspect it's being ground down and crammed into exfoliating facial cleansers where it can go down the drain and into the ocean and mimic plankton, to the detriment of the entire food chain. Clearly the thing to do is quit buying the damn stuff in the first place. The shit never goes away. Never. And we didn't used to have it. I'm old, but not in a geological sense. And I can remember when we didn't have it. We got by.

I've mentioned it before: that first TV ad for Prell Shampoo. Someone reached coyly around the shower curtain (it was a WOMAN! She was probably NAKED! What a PRODUCT!) and asked for the shampoo, and her husband lobbed her the Prell in the little plastic tube. She was horrified! She shrieked attractively! But it didn't break! Husband is a freaking genius! I related that ad again to a young person recently, and she said: really? Wasn't it dangerous to take a glass bottle in the bathtub with you?

Yeah, no. Nobody got hurt running with scissors--we were drilled on that early--but people drove
drunk and got killed, and people occasionally burned themselves up smoking in bed, and people came back in pieces from Vietnam. But nobody I knew, or anyone else ever knew, got taken out by a glass bottle of shampoo in the bathtub. It wasn't even an option in the game of Clue. What we did was exhibit the small amount of care one must when transporting a glass bottle into a bathtub. We did not, in fact, throw bottles of shampoo at our family members. Not even once. Not in your better families, anyway.

And some day, best beloveds, someone will be explaining to an incredulous child how we used to look for danger at intersections, rather than counting on our genius automobiles to screech themselves to a halt in front of the semi while we're shooting the breeze with someone across the country using Bluetooth. That's right. We used to look.

It's even possible we could re-learn how to keep ourselves alive in the shower in a post-plastic world. Even if we culled a few people from the gene pool, it might be worth it.

34 comments:

  1. Yeah, this subject brings out the crank in me. I have even e-mailed companies about the unnecessary use of plastic. (Scott paper, I'm looking at you! In their ginormous sized package of toilet paper, there are four rolls to a shrink-wrapped package inside of the larger shrink-wrapped package. WTF? And their paper towels are individually shrink-wrapped in their large shrink-wrapped package. Not only is this wasteful, but it's a pain in the ass to unwrap each roll to stock my cabinet.) And don't even get me started on K-Cups! Really? You're too busy/lazy/mathematically-challenged to fill a spoon and put it directly into the coffeemaker?

    As for the plastic versus glass: I think that things are being made safer because people are getting progressively more stupid. We used to know better than to do some of this shit, like cross the street without looking, or trying to repair a toaster while it's plugged in. Unfortunately, as products become safer, these stupid people remain in the gene pool, producing even more stupid people, necessitating even safer products.

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    1. Or it could be a matter of too many lawyers, waiting to pounce on any injury that could possibly produce a big settlement. But more stupid people helps too.

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    2. Wait a minute. Back up. mimianderly knows how to repair a toaster? My coffeepot just quit on me. I don't want to have to throw away that big piece of plastic and get a new piece of plastic!

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    3. Well, I have the answer for that, and it makes better coffee, too. Take your ground coffee and put it in a mesh cloth bag. Put about 11 cups of cold water per pound of ground coffee with it (like in a stock pot). Let it soak overnight or all day at room temperature. Strain that lovely elixir through a coffee filter into some (glass) bottles that you keep in the fridge. Use about 1 part extract to 3 parts hot water to make one of the best cups of coffee you'll ever have! You can heat it in the microwave, if you are so inclined, or just add boiling water to the extract. It keeps for weeks in the fridge. No coffee maker necessary! Very low acid, tasty product.

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    4. You do make a fine cup of joe. Could you come over here and make me a batch, and then dinner? I'll do the dishes.

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  2. There are a lot of things people have forgotten how to do, as you said, like looking both ways.
    I prefer drinking from a glass bottle. It gives a much more dramatic effect when you break the end off by smashing it on the edge of the bar right before the frivolity begins. Plastic just doesn't cut it and usually bounces giving the appearance of incompetence.

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    1. Yeah. You can't clink one of those plastic champagne flutes, either. There MUST be clinkability.

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  3. I counted 6 actual out loud laughs in this. Not just LOL's but audible guffaws, also knows as AG's.

    That plastic stuff is great except it never goes away.

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    1. Yeah, except for that! And thanks for keeping track of the guffaws. I keep losing count and some day I'm going to have hell to pay with my accountant.

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  4. I just brought out my third bag of recyclable junk to the trash bin this week and hubby and I will make our bi-weekly trip to the local landfill. He commented that he does not know where it all comes from. The paper comes from your former employer and I leave about 80% with them when I pick up the mail. The plastic is insane, but someone is getting rich off of it.

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    1. I do know people who refuse to buy it. The level of commitment is intense. But it's doable. That's not to say I do it. You have to bring jars to the grocery store and tare them, then fill them; you have to balance vegetables across your arm; they do not make it easy anymore.

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    2. I take mesh drawstring bags to the store for my fruit and vegetables. Some I bought; packed into a reusable shopping bag, some I made myself but I was too lazy to do the drawstring bit.

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    3. You're my hero. I need to be a better person.

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  5. In Iceland they don't assume that everybody is a developmentally-delayed 4-year-old. For instance, the Ring Road doesn't have a center line, and there are no guard rails or warning signs on most walking paths along the edges of deep chasms or beside HUGE waterfalls. If you get too close to the edge, fall off and kill yourself: TOO BAD! The assumption is, as my mother would have said, that "you're a full-grown, adult human being!" It's a refreshing place to travel (in many ways).

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    1. It sounds VERY refreshing. Cold and wet, in places.

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  6. Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.

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  7. Even without smart sensor cars (or whatever the right name is), some people don't bother to check for traffic at the intersections. It makes me wonder about Darwin's theory, sometimes, because it's never those people who get hurt or removed from the gene pool ...

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    1. Well, sometimes it is. Like that poor fellow who was on a stepladder to give an elephant an enema.

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  8. I especially love my plastic credit card.

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  9. Holy Fort Knox, Murr. Trying to make a comment is like doing a triathelon AND taking a MENSA test on your blog. Have you tried it? We have to sign in with our account AND then are given pictures of a food item (which rate right up there with those foreign restaurants which have pictures of their food plates). Every picture looks like leftovers that have been scraped into the compost bin. Then the test is to pick out the fuzzy ones that look most like "bread" or "squid toes" or whatever the heck the gronky photo is. YOu must get a LOT of trolls to have this much security. (Of course, trolls probably eat the mish-mash food being shown, so I'm not sure how secure the procedure is.

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    1. I nevah! Huh. I don't think I set up anything except "no anonymous posters." That took care of the spam, and I never did have a troll. We run a very polite operation here! HOWEVER, after I put in my new operating system, I've had all sorts of trouble including not getting a comment window when I hit "reply"' on this blog, or just getting one and that's it. Which is why I haven't always been timely in replying. I only wish I could have looked at pictures of squid toes while I was waiting.

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    2. I sign in via my google account (first in the list of options) and do not have to go through any security. Maybe it depends on how you sign in.

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    3. Aha. That might explain it. Google runs Blogger, so they probably want people to use their stuff.

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    4. I never have to do any signing in or anything else. I come here, type my comment and click 'publish'.
      Done.

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    5. So you're probably always logged in to your Google account. Well I hope people aren't having TOO much trouble.

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  10. I'm not much younger than you, but I don't recall glass shampoo bottles. my earliest memories were glass-like bottles that were plastic but hard and brittle. Now we have the soft plastic bottles and tubes and it's impossible to get that last bit out because they fill up with air, or whatever the reason is, so I cut them in half and scoop out the remains which is often enough for another half dozen washes.
    I wish we could recreate a world without plastic, but the governments make too much money from the oil company taxes, there's no hope at all they'll give that up. I buy as little plastic as I can, my recycle bin usually has about 95% paper, then the rest is plastic and cat food cans. Washed of course.

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    1. Now I'm doubting myself. Didn't we have glass shampoo bottles? Anyone else remember? So the Prell lady screamed in delight that her husband threw a squishier tube at her? Naw. Had to be glass...

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  11. Great post on our desire to bury ourselves in our own trash - after we kill off the wildlife with it- especially the 6-pack holders and balloons. And you left room for those horrible water bottles, a bottle of which takes 10 X the water to produce and which is also littering our environment and building up in trash dumps.

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    1. I've written about the water bottles before, and I have a couple more on the subject in the can! Whenever I get around to posting them.

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