Done with the Stuff

Styrofoam Man

Styrofoam Man (Photo credit: elmada)

Brookline, MA just banned it.  No, not cellphones – they did that back in 1995 I think.  McDonald’s would have been a good guess, but Coolidge Corner gave them the boot years ago.  Walmart, now that’s a good guess too except that Brookline never had one (which might qualify as a ban).  Speaking of Walmart, you won’t find one in Boston, – the closest one is near the prison in Walpole.  You know what Conan O’Brien’s hometown of Brookline banned? Styrofoam.  Yes, styrofoam! Funny name.  According to the New Oxford American Dictionary (that I got for free with my new Kindle Paperwhite), the word is derived from the words polystyrene + foam.  Say, where does the ro come from?  I’m not a chemist so if there’s a scientific explanation, well, there you have it.  As one who majored in English in college, I am inclined to believe that stryofoam had something to do with William Styron, the man who wrote Darkness Visible.  Ok, I say this because his name is the next entry after styrofoam.  But I do believe I am on to something, and not just the name similarity.  Darkness Visible, now that’s styrofoam defined.  Darkness visible for 1 million years.  Seriously, the stuff takes a million plus years to decompose.

I never much liked styrofoam.  I used to take bites out of coffee cups, – nervous habit like chewing on a pencil or popping bubble wrap.  The thing I dislike (hate is such a strong word) apart from its polluting properties, is that styrofoam squeaks, especially those $1.99 ice chests – the worst squeaking offenders of all.

Styrofoam.  Good riddance, but the thing is, try as you may Brookline – you can’t get rid of the stuff.  It’ll be floating around in pools of hazardous waste long after humans perish and our planet turns dark.

2 Responses

  1. I think we share the same aversion to the squeakiness of styrofoam. There must have been such an ice chest in our childhood, because I can’t think of a time in my adult life when I’ve been around one. Hey! What about Silly String? Isn’t that made of the same stuff. I used to love its whacky delivery and addictive chemical smell. I like to think that the sturdy styrofoam, in its million year reign on earth, will at least have some company from its perky little cousin, Wham O Silly String.

  2. yes, styrofoam in a can, a real creepy invention, inspired by cheese whiz I think, which I used to suck right out of the can. As to childhood memories, Gagan used to fill up that little styrofoam bucket with minnows and the ice chest with sodas, load it all up in the boat and take us to Tenkiller or Beaver Lake. I could hear the squeaking any time the boat moved and minnows may have been squeaking too.

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