Mama, can you put this in your pocket?" Tiny Pants held out a fistful of sticks he had collected along the shore.
"No, Tiny, you put them in your pockets," I said.
"But, Mama, my pockets are full!"
What could I do? I allowed the latest additions to his stick and rock collection to fill my pockets as we walked along the beach.
"Look, Mama! A torpedo!" Tiny Pants held out his latest treasure:
It was nice blue color, and it had a stick that went in and out. In a six year old boy's mind, it was an awesome treasure.
"No! Drop it, Tiny Pants! It's garbage."
"But what is it?" he asked.
"I don't know, but it's plastic. We only collect nature, not plastic."
Of course I knew what it was. I am female, and I menstruate. I have even used such a thing before, but never on the beach. I've always been astonished by the sheer volume of tampon applicators along every shoreline I have visited. I've never seen a beach without them. Do they float better than other garbage and thus wash up on the sand? But what about all the rest of the refuse? Why is is predominantly tampon applicators that liter the beaches, and not piles of other flotsam?
Do women use them nonchalantly on the beach and bury them? I can't imagine this would be the case. Sure, one or two women might do that, but practically every single beach I have been on in my entire life has had at least one little menstrual torpedo on it.
Did aliens come and collect an astonishing number of tampons, thinking they were weapons, and once they realized they were not, just throw them on the beaches?
Or are they made of something completely indestructible, and like cockroaches, can survive anything? Are these insertion units really the same ones I saw in my own childhood? Tampon applicators are neither created nor destroyed, merely redistributed upon our shores.