All Commentary
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Just One Word: Plastics

Why I'm gradually replacing all my glassware with plastic.

The hot iron stopped generating steam, which meant that it was out of water.

But no one really has a special tool for filling it up — at least not nearby– and you really don’t want to unplug it and take the whole hot iron to the sink. What to do? I tried dragging the iron to the sink while it was plugged in, which caused the cord to tangle and me to stumble a bit.

The iron hit a beautiful stemmed wine glass that was on the counter and caused it to fly across the room.

Oh no! The sound, the flying glass, the ghastly scene, the regret, the self-hating. In the old days, all this would have happened. Just another day of sadness, destruction, and tragically wasteful cleanup.

Into the trash go the remains, with that dreadful sound of broken glass rattling around. Life is so hard.

New Times

But these are new days. Life doesn’t have to be this way.

Instead of breaking, my fancy wine glass bounced!

And you know why? Because it is made of plastic. You can’t tell. It looks like the finest lead crystal circa 1920. You can’t tell the difference from sight.

We are at peak glass, completely surrounded by the possibility of breakage. I use this trick on friends to reveal the new times. I say “do you like this glass?” When they respond yes, I hold it in the air and let it go. People scream in horror! But the glass bounces. Awesome!

The difference is not the look, but the substance. When you drop it, it doesn’t shatter into thousands of tiny shards that you are still finding with your bare feet two months later.

I’m still getting used to this amazing reality. I no longer have to fear the trauma of glass shattering on a stone floor. A life without fear is such an amazing dream. The replacing of my glass glassware with modern plastic glassware is one seemingly small, but actually mighty step in the direction of living without fear.

With plastic, I can live with courage, control, and determination.

We are all so used to the fear of glass breaking that we’ve internalized it as part of our inevitable reality. We are careful when we wash. We are careful when putting them away and picking them up. We are cautious when toasting. So much of our lives revolve around this fear of breakage that we don’t even notice it anymore.

Technology has once again solved a huge problem. The last few years have brought us new innovations in plastic. They are heavy, easy to clean, and beautiful.

I have a deal going. Every new plastic glass I acquire I throw out one made of glass. I’ve done this with low ball glasses, with stemless and stemmed wine glasses, with water glasses, with martini glasses, with beer glasses.

With each act of replacement, life gets better. I live stronger.

Never Stop Improving

In the 19th century, glassware was a big way for the elite to distinguish themselves from peasants. The plebs drank from tin cups. The nobility had lead crystal.

And then capitalism brought lead crystal to the masses. At one point, every middle-class home had a nice set of fancy crystal glassware.

The more glass we get, the more we fear. As time marched on, and people realized that lead was actually deadly, regular glass took over. Now you can get great looking glassware at the grocery store. It looks amazing. Splurging means going to WalMart where you can get a set of six wine glasses for the price of a sandwich.

We are at peak glass, completely surrounded by the possibility of breakage.

The more we get, the more we fear.

Doesn’t it seem like the time to move on?

How This Began

I was at the movie theater, one of the ones that lets you take a glass of wine in with you. Of course, they are plastic. They are not stupid; no one wants breakage in the theater. It was great!

And it got me thinking: you know, we don’t want breakage anywhere, actually. It’s not okay in the theater. It’s not okay at the pool. But, hey, it’s not okay in my home either.

That’s what triggered the whole thing. And it gives me yet another reason to adore the market. I can make the choice for the good life over a life of fear, dread, and self-loathing. And I can do it with one click!

Maybe you like this idea (you should) and you are ready to take it to the next level. Maybe you are ready for plastic cutlery and dishes – a full table! This is your thing: you can get a full place setting including beautiful knives and forks to serve 120 people for $150. Amazing.

If there are two of you, this will cover your needs for many years. A full family can be joyful, safe, free of fear every day so long as the kids are growing up. No more screaming and yelling over broken plates.

It turns out that the scene from The Graduate was exactly right. One word: plastics. It was just a few decades too early.