I’m going to get a manicure today. I wonder if I’ll tear it to shreds trying to open something when I get home. Maybe it will be something as simple as a tear-back can of soup. I can never do it in one fell swoop. I always have to find something to pry up the round thing on top and then pull as hard as I can, and maybe get it open enough that the soup will fall out.

Forget about a sardine sandwich. If you’re lucky enough to get the eccentrically-shaped can open without cutting yourself, the rye bread will be be double-wrapped and require a knife to open. The outside wrap will be the one you want to keep the loaf in, so you’ll probably have to take all the bread out of the cheap cellophane wrap inside and put it back in the outer bag. That’s what I do, but it makes me crazy.

A tightly wrapped deli sandwich is nice, but it’s embarrassing to have to chew through the hot-sealed wrapping in public.

Worse yet is the hard industrial-type plastic that requires you to wedge a fingernail or a knife or a tree trimmer somewhere to get the process started. There’s probably a plastic arrow somewhere to guide you, but who can see plastic on plastic?

Every time I get something from the deli at Trader Joe’s I vow that I’ll have them open it before I leave the store and watch them struggle. Then I get embarrassed or forget. The containers have sort of a plastic zipper with teeth that is supposed to open very easily if you can find the starting point. I used to wind up using a church key to pry it open inseveral places and then cut it apart. It could not be what’s intended. I no longer buy them.

Costco is particularly guilty of killer wrapping. You can get a great price on, say, toothbrushes, but you can’t really get at them. They apparently feel the need to display each of the toothbrushes separately, lest you doubt the truth of the good deal. When you do have success prying one out, the size and configuration of the container makes it difficult to store. Do you stand it up, lay it flat, file it in a cabinet?

Sometimes I have ordered two paperbacks from Amazon, to have them come in a box with the dreaded packing peanuts which jump out and fly around, creating an instant asthma trigger. I’m telling you. Paperbacks.

A logical solution to the packaging problem is to carry a small all-purpose knife the way men do. But I’d definitely ruin my manicure trying to open it. Of course there’s always a switchblade, but as much as I’d relish pulling it out – just for effect – in political discussions, or when a server calls me “hon,” I’d undoubtedly bloody myself and not myadversary.

The problem calls for a SuperPac. I think it should be called DICOT, for Dammit I Can’t Open This. Sort of rhymes with boycott. All contributions can be sent directly to me, cash preferred.

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Mary Kay O'Grady

Mary Kay O'Grady is a former high school English teacher and later owned her own public relations business, The O'Grady Group. She has lived in Oak Park for almost fifteen years. She is currently the chairperson...

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