Things to Throw Out in the 21st Century

Bagel Shops

As much as Starbucks might not like to admit it, the 1990’s are over. And so is the need for bagel shops.

New York City was the star of 1990’s sitcoms, with Friends, Sex in the City, and Seinfeld shaping the late 20th century American imagination’s ideas about what it is to be learned, idle, urban, and glamorous. And coffee and bagels played important supporting roles in those now-iconic situational comedies about the upper middle class of upper Manhattan.

Coffee as the drink of the erudite elite - the beverage for those who process and those who linger - is here to stay. But carbo-loading is not.

Didn’t we spend a good ten years burning off all those linguini dinners we ate in a misguided, selective attempt to be more Euro? So why are we going to eat bagels everyday in some nostalgic, dietary nightmare called trying to be New Yorkers, but only in the morning? And only when it pertains to bready, high-calorie foods?

Making lattes available everywhere was a good thing; making bagels available everywhere was not.

Teva Sandals

The idea of the urban backpacker has lost its glamour. I mean, let’s get real: walking around the block does not require a 3-foot long backpack, water thermos, and flexible but durable sandals.

It just doesn’t.

The urban – or suburban – jungle is not actually a jungle, and hiking gear is not really necessary in most any situation the Teva wearer encounters on a daily or even monthly basis. Walking up a few stairs then down an evenly paved sidewalk is not akin to hiking Kilamanjaro, despite aspirations to the contrary.

“Back to nature” means a lot when a) you’re actually in nature. Backyards don’t count. Or, b) very few people have heard of that before.

Hmm, let’s see… neither option works.

This is the Green Century, and we’re eco-chic. The aesthetic iconoclasm of the 1970’s green movement is not only considered irrelevant by some progressives, it is also borderline rude. After all, what does sporting one’s unsightly toenails in the spring, summer, fall, and winter say about environmentalists as a group? Does the transition from car culture to street culture really have to be an eyesore?

The days of Tevas as the “Look at me!” Green accessory are over. We’re with it now. People bike in high heels and miniskirts, and take the Metro by choice, not out of necessity. People whose beliefs would have led them to be luddites 40 years ago are now living the iLife.

So why are the shoes stuck in the past?

It’s time to put the Tevas up in the attic. If you must, you can put them in a biodegradable box.