Oddly, one of the memories of my dad that stands out to me the most is the way he used his napkin at dinner. He would wipe his mouth clean, fold his napkin, and then use the folded edge to really get at the corners. Then he would wipe it a few more times, and set it down in a crumpled heap next to his plate. It wasn’t an obvious practice – the whole thing took less than three seconds. But it always struck me as unnecessary, since I couldn’t see any food coming off.
Now that I’m a little older, I can see it was a hygiene ritual like all of us have – a muscle memory action to ensure he had his bases covered.
But what I’m interested in today is how my dad set his napkin down: crumpled. By crumpling it, my dad was indicating he was discarding the napkin. From there on out, the napkin was dead to him. The next time he wanted to enact his mouth-wiping ritual, he reached for a new one, never using the old one more than once or twice. This resulted in a pile of crumpled napkins on his plate by the time the meal was finished.
During a meal, do you constantly crumple up napkins and reach for new ones? Or do you save your old napkin, perhaps folding it or tucking it under your plate? Are you an environmentally-conscious napkin preserver, or an obsessive mouth and finger wiper? Basically, what’s more important – your face or the trees?* Vote below, and explain your choice in the comments.
*Bet you never knew napkin use could be so political. See? At So Good, you learn something new every day.