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Richard Ord: Evolution? Animals have it in the bag!

The porbeagle shark caught near Whitby in June last year. Picture: Rich Cope of Mistress Sea Angling - mistress-whitby.co.uk.
The porbeagle shark caught near Whitby in June last year. Picture: Rich Cope of Mistress Sea Angling - mistress-whitby.co.uk.

“Would you like a bag?”

Considering I had just spent £120 on a pair of shoes for my 14-year-old son, the shop assistant’s question was the least of my worries.

For that amount of cash, I didn’t’ just want a bag, I wanted my path to the shop exit sprinkled with rose petals. The staff could also form a guard of honour, piping me to the doors before carrying me on their shoulders to my car. If that’s not too much to ask.

I don’t really want to talk about the amount of cash I am forced to spend on my offspring. Particularly as I feel as if I’m paying for the privilege of turning my son into a walking billboard for sportswear manufacturers.

North Face seems particularly popular. Though I don’t think my glum teenage son dragging his heels around a retail park is that good an advert for a mountaineer clothing company. Sour Face would be more apt.

“That’ll be 5p,” the shop assistant said. “For the bag.”

Such is the odd state of play in society today, I found it easier to part with the £120 for a pair of monstrous trainers than 5p for a plastic bag.

I balked at the bag. As I’ve said before, buying a plastic bag when shopping is the modern equivalent of a billionaire tycoon lighting his cigar with a ten dollar bill. It’s a sign that you have more money than sense.

Obviously there are environmental concerns. That said, with the masses of plastic detritus floating in our seas and rivers, creatures will eventually adapt to their new polluted surroundings.

Evolution will ensure that fish and sea mammals will learn to use the rubbish we have dumped in our waterways. Just as the giraffe evolved a long neck to nibble food from the highest branches, so in years to come will lobsters evolve nimble fingers to carry their young in plastic Aldi shopping bags.

Nature will probably ensure sharks evolve sensitive lips too so they can pucker up and use the millions of straws we’ve chucked in the waves. Sharks will continue to roam the seas ripping humans apart with their great gaping jaws, but in years to come they also then whip out a straw with their specially evolved gripping fin before slurping up the blood and body goo with the straws. Nature always finds a way.

This, of course, is going to take some years. A few million Darwin reckoned.

In the meantime, it’s probably best to limit our plastic bag use.

I’ve taken to wearing trousers with specially designed pockets. They are extra large pockets, about the depth of a typical shopping bag.

It means that, should I forget my bag for life to collect my shopping, I can use the giant pockets in my strides.

The only awkward part of these wonder consumer pockets, is when the check out lady asks: “Do you need a hand with your packing?” I always answer ‘Yes’. Raising my arms in the air and crying “Fill her up!”

They then pay the 5p themselves... and hand me a plastic bag. It’s known as a win win.