Opening Stuff

All wrapped up: Why is it so #$@&%*! hard to open just about any box, jar, CD, carton or package?

All wrapped up: Why is it so #$@&%*! hard to open any package?

Tools used to open hard things to open
It takes a host of tools to open just about anything. Photo by Katie Oxford

Opening stuff used to be easier. 

What once required mostly muscle, now takes muscle, time and tools. Determination helps.
 
Whether the item comes in the mail or from a restaurant where you picked up food to go, getting to it is complicated and can cause injury. Everything comes wrapped, wrapped and more wrapped. Remember that one word in the movie, The Graduate?  “Plastics,” said Mr. McGuire to Ben. “There’s a great future in plastics.” 
 What once required mostly muscle, now takes muscle, time and tools. Determination helps.
 
I’ve opened many a box from UPS using a painter’s scraper. By the time I reach the contents, it feels like I’ve wrestled a gorilla. There’s packaging tape for miles and I don’t care how careful you are, those damnable peanuts are going to fly like confetti.
 
For an upper torso work out, open a jar of pickles. If muscle doesn’t do it, I hold the jar at an angle and tap the lid against a block board. If this doesn’t work, then I run it under hot water. If this fails, I go back to the block board where then, a fierce determination sets in. If you want those baby dills, you gotta stay with it.
 
When we pick up Italian food, I order extra red sauce, which comes in a pint size plastic container. Looking at this little container, you’d never think of grabbing a bottle opener . . . until you tackle taking the lid off. It’s like hermetically sealed or something! It seems the smaller the item, the tougher the job.
 
I take two vitamins. Opening the calcium is a one step deal but it’s layers later before I get to those fish oil gels. There’s plastic at the top and more under the lid, or, depending on the brand, a foam board type material. After you peel this away you come to cotton . . . beaucoups of it. From here I use a pair of tweezers and pull out enough to stuff a woman’s evening purse.
 
 There’s an art to opening a CD. Once, at Cactus Music, I watched a guy unwrap one faster than my Uncle Howard shucked corn. 
There’s an art to opening a CD. Once, at Cactus Music, I watched a guy unwrap one faster than my Uncle Howard shucked corn.
 
Before cracking into a package of new batteries, first, I gather tools. This is a paring knife, a flat head screwdriver and the bluntest scissors in the house. The plastic’s so thick it’ll ruin a pair of good ones. 
 
Even with the dry cleaning, boxed shirts, already packaged in cardboard and plastic, come stacked in large bags that are closed shut at the top by a train track of staples. I use to remove these with the flat head screwdriver, but, the task was tedious and by the end of it, I was crawling on the floor looking for all the staples. Now, I go straight for my trusty staple remover. Industrial strength.
 
I asked friends of all ages what items, if any, did they have a tough time opening. The responses came fast and sure. 
 
One talked about orange juice cartons. “If I don’t pull that plastic ring thing off in just the right way, the whole thing pops out.”
 
Another spoke generally. "Sometimes you just have to destroy a product just to open it."
 
My favorite though was this one. "Worst package ever is for the Dewalt Utility Knife. You need a chainsaw to open it. Best design comes from Nature, The Banana."
 
You’ll howl but I actually Googled the latter. I thought "The Banana" was some kind of boat made by a company called Nature.  
 
Guess it was just too simple.