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Whitey Harwood: Didn’t think about that

By Whitey Harwood

Last week, I was in Salisbury looking for some horehound candy and met a young lady from Charleston, South Carolina, that had driven to Rowan County looking to buy a mattress.

She recognized me from my mug in “The Wood Shed” column, and asked me why I had quit writing stories for the Post.

I told her I hadn’t quit, that I had been laid up for the past four months and I would try to knock out something before the end of the ninth year of this decade just for her. So here it goes, Colleen.

Last year about this time, I was in one of Rowan County’s fine, outstanding “dollar” stores, finishing up some last minute Christmas shopping, and I ran into a cousin I hadn’t seen in about six years. He was somewhere in Afghanistan, flying helicopters, in the last report I heard about him.

After we exchanged pleasantries, he told me he was retired and back home for good. We decided to meet once a month for lunch to see if we could solve some of the world’s problems.

In January, we went to a very nice restaurant in Concord. As soon as the waitress took our drink order, she flopped two plastic straws down on the table. I told her that we were both grown men and she could put them straws back in her apron. “Cuzz” reached out and grabbed one and said, “Not so fast there. I need my straw.”

I didn’t say anything until we were headed home. I asked him why he needed a straw.

He said, “Well, it’s only one straw. What’s the big deal?”

“What if a million people said that,” I asked.

“That’s a whole lot of straws,” he said.

“Now, think if a billion people felt like you,” I said.

He said, “I didn’t think about that.”

In February, we went back to the same place. Same waitress. Only one straw this time.

She looked at me and said, “You don’t take the straw, do you?”

I answered, “That’s right. Thanks for remembering.” Then I asked “Cuzz” why did he take the straw?

He said, “I forgot.”

“What did you forget?” I asked.

“I forgot you don’t like straws,” he said.

“It ain’t got nothing to do with me not liking straws. Don’t you understand the danger of plastic in the oceans and all the damages it causes?” I asked.

He said, “I didn’t think about that.”

In March, we were in the same place with the same waitress and the same, one straw.

“Why did you take the straw today?” I asked.

“Didn’t you pay attention to my drink order,” he asked. “I ordered my tea half and half, and I need my straw to stir it,” he said.

“What’s wrong with using that spoon there?” I asked

He said, “I didn’t think about that.”

In April, it was the last straw. It’s the one that broke my back.

When I asked him why he kept taking the straw, he answered, “I didn’t want to tell you, but I’m paranoid.”


Paranoid of germs, he said.

“You think I’m gonna put my mouth on a glass that someone else has locked their lips around,” he said.

“Look, you fool, don’t you know those glasses are washed and sterilized?” I asked.

“Well, I don’t trust ‘em,” he said.

“I’ve noticed you been a-cramming that fork in your mouth pretty regular. Do you think they rush out and buy a new one for just for you every time they see you walk in here?” I said.

He said, “I didn’t think about that.”

“Before I tell you that I’m done with you and then you can kiss my glass, I’ve got two questions for you,” I told hm.

He said, “OK.”

No. 1. “Do you think man ever landed on the moon?”

“No, I don’t,” he answered firmly.

No. 2. “Have you ever thought about running for Rowan County commissioner?”

He said, “Yeah, now I have thought about that.”

Imagine that. I think he’d fit right in.

Now, I want to share something with the rest of the plastic straw users while they are enjoying holiday souse meet and drinking your eggnog: Just refuse it and you won’t have to use it.

Think about that and “keep on smilin.'”

Whitey Harwood lives in Rowan County.



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