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Of straws, glasses and ice cubes

     Ice cubes bounced onto the table and slid off onto the floor in a flood of water. A couple of the cubes flew off and hit the knee of the guy in the next booth. He jumped, looked around, and then went back to eating like nothing had happened. People were staring at me as the waitress tried to soothe me, "Don't worry. We'll clean it up. Let's move you over here." "Here" was a booth in the far corner of the restaurant—well out of ice cube reach.

     I've never seen anyone moved from a booth because they spilled a little water. Well, a lot of water. The glass was full. Usually they just sop up the water and ice cubes and let you sit back down where you were. My jeans were drenched, but only on one side and I held my napkin over that part as we walked over to our new spot. I was thirsty but the waitress never offered to refill my empty glass. Wonder why. . .

     If it hadn't been for the straw sticking up from that glass I never would have knocked the thing over when I reached across the table to move it to a more out-of-the-way spot. I was trying to put it somewhere where it wouldn't get knocked over. Huh. My hand brushed against the top of the straw and that was it—glass over!

     My dad stopped using straws in his drinks years ago, after he accidentally brushed his hand against the straw sticking up out of his glass, knocking the glass and all its contents onto the table. This had happened to him enough times to swear him off straws. And it was always a full glass. Never happens with an empty one.

     Speaking of straws, remember the days before iPhones and iPads when you'd get bored waiting for your meal at a restaurant and suddenly the straws went into action? With a little help from the humans at the table. Straw-cover warfare. We all did it.

     If you haven't and you'd like to create a little action other than thumbing on iPhones the next time you dine out at a family restaurant—note I said family restaurant—here's the deal. You take the top part of the paper cover of the straw, blow into that end of the straw and the rest of the cover shoots out across the table. If your aim is good and your target is unsuspecting, you've got a hit. Straw-cover warfare has begun. Now you've got their attention. Next thing you know, balled-up napkins will start flying across the table and. . . .

     No. No utensil warfare. If you can't respect the silverware, you have to eat at home. Straws and napkins and dairy-substitute-cup towers are fair game in a family restaurant when no one's looking and the waitress or meal is taking forever to get to you, but no utensil warfare. And there's a limit on the straws 'n napkins stuff. Enough is enough. And don't forget the space limits—not one straw, napkin, dairy creamer or sugar packet is to leave the air space over your booth. That would include ice cubes accidentally? dislodged from their place in your glass.

     Come to think of it, next time you're being ignored due to heads bowed, engrossed in iPhones and iPads, you might want to kind of accidentally knock over your glass of water. That should get their attention—if the straw cover missed.

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