Polyethylene Stowaway

In front of me right now is a supermarket carrier bag containing a pair of woolen gloves, an interesting book about landmines and two large cartons of a soya-based milk substitute.

The bag (rather than its contents) is an alien artifact, accidental souvenir and polyethylene stowaway from New York City. It is a reminder that I was in New York City five days ago: a fact I have trouble coming to terms with. My time there now seems like something that happened in previous lifetime.

The bag is yellow and it advertises “GRISTEDE’S NEW YORK MEGA STORES”. On it there is a picture of the Manhattan skyline including the twin towers. At first I thought the bag design might just be a bit out of date (why compromise a logo for the sake of currency?) but next to the image of the towers it says:

“Always on our minds. Forever in our Hearts. Never Forget What They Did”.

I assume this is a touching, if slightly mawkish, memorial to 9/11. It’s about time someone paid memorial to that.

But I wonder exactly which element of 9/11 it refers to. Who are the “they” to which the tribute alludes? It seems too sympathetic a tribute for the buildings themselves. No matter how fond you may have been of the NY skyline, I don’t think you would ever consider the memory of any two concrete structures to be “in your heart”.

Nobody is about to forget what the buildings did either. They were offices for accountants. God preserve them, they never heard the phrase “credit crunch”. They never heard the phrase “Post-9/11” either for that matter. So out of touch. That must be the worst thing about being dead.

There was a nice restaurant at the Trade Centre too and an observation deck at the top of each tower. I will never forget. Those top-notch Port Authority facilities will always be on my mind and forever in my heart.

Presumably, then, the carrier bag refers to the people who died in the event. But then the “Never Forget What They Did” clause seems a bit weird. They didn’t DO anything. They died. I don’t think I’m being cruel. But no one did anything particularly heroic or amazing other than get hit in the face by a plane. They weren’t soldiers offering their lives for the good of their country. They were bystanders. I don’t think I’m being glib. It’s a weird thing to write is what I think.

Statistically, several office workers would have been on the toilet when the first plane hit. Think about that for a second.

“September 11. It happened on the toilet.”

I salute those heroic poopers. I will never forget what they did.

I suppose the phrase on the bag could refer to the heroic fire fighters and police officers who helped in the aftermath but those are pretty much all still alive. The tribute seems a bit too memorial-like so it can’t refer to them.

Whatever. The sentiment is nice and a grocery store carrier bag is a good a way as any to lament the pending end of western civilisation and (especially) “100 YEARS QUALITY-VALUE-SERVICE”.

I think I speak for everyone who died in the World Trade Centre when I emplore you all (if you have one of these bags) to return it to a participating store for re-use.

And for goodness sake, keep it out of reach of babies and small children. This 9/11 memorial is a suffocation hazzard.

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