The Old Coot is helpless!

I can’t open anything! I tried to get into a box of Cheerios the other day and I un-flapped the cardboard top with no problem. Then came the plasticized wax paper bag, heat-sealed at the top and bottom. If you grip it on opposite sides you are supposed to be able to pop it open with a quick tug, and hope you don’t spill the contents all over the kitchen. 

My grip wasn’t up to the task. I had to get a pair of scissors to get at those round toasted oats. I dumped them in a bowl and reached for the milk. It was in one of those waxed, cardboard-ish containers, the kind that’s folded and sealed at the top and has an arrow pointing to where you should open it. 

I wasn’t paying attention and opened it on the wrong side, forming a jagged spout. The milk came out in all directions. It wouldn’t have made a difference if I’d opened it correctly anyhow. Half the time the designated end has so much stick-um on it that it comes out just as jagged as when you open the wrong end. 

But, it’s not just cereal boxes and milk cartons that give me trouble; it’s everything – potato chips, pickles, peanut butter, toys, condiment packets, little creamers, on and on and on. 

Overzealous bureaucrats in Washington foisted childproof bottles on us 40 years ago following the Tylenol scare, where seven people died after ingesting cyanide laced Tylenol capsules. Prior to that, old coots with arthritic tinged fingers were capable of opening an aspirin bottle. They could gobble down a couple of pills and keep their lumbago at bay. Not long after it was decided that parents weren’t capable of keeping medicine away from their kids and criminals chose to tamper with commercial products. 

Tamperproof packaging is on my case for a whole slew of products. Today I sat with a bag of Snickers in front of me, trying to appease a sweet tooth attack. I couldn’t find the scissors. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich might have gotten me over the hump, but the peanut butter jar in our cupboard hasn’t been opened yet. I know I can unscrew the top, but I won’t be able to pull off the disc that’s glued to the rim; the tab is too small to get a good grip on it. 

I’m in trouble! A “package challenged” old coot. It’s just a matter of time before I’ll have to hire a professional opener to come by every few days to untwist, unseal, uncap, or otherwise open things for me. Either that, or I’ll be pushing a shopping cart full of unopened food products around town with a sign on my back that says, “Will work for food. Help me open it!”

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