The drinking straw is named after 'Drinkin' Jim Straw', a legendary wild west figure. Several famous tales tell of his enormous capacity for alcohol, including one where he drank himself to sleep during a drinking contest, and then proceeded to continue drinking, even through his unconciousness. The final straw came when he drank the bar dry at the Nevada saloon for the 6th time in two months. Barman Paddy Adams insisted that whenever he drank in his bar in future, he had to do it through a metal tube. This slightly slowed the rate of ingress, and equilibrium was restored.
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