I am getting old and crusty. I am coming to terms with the transformation, recognizing the clear signs that it is getting more difficult for me to cope with certain circumstances. No, I am not referring to aches and pains, fatigue, stiffness, or any other physical ailments. I have them, but they are few and for the most part do not pose any real threats nor create significant obstacles. My job is complex at times and generates the typical amount of stress that most professionals have to manage, but I certainly have no complaints there either. From time to time, worrying about my children and their future keeps me awake at night, but considering all the grief some parents face with their kids, I consider myself rather fortunate. I have the best wife a man could hope for — in that respect, I am the luckiest guy I’ve ever met.
So, what makes my blood pressure rise? What makes me angry enough to use language that only comedian Sam Kinison would have dared use? What makes me question if the advanced technology in this country may wind up destroying civilization and leaving us all in a helpless heap of hunger and despair? Here it is: modern product packaging. Surely you know what I’m referring to here. For heaven’s sake, Wikipedia even has an entry for it titled “Wrap Rage.”
When I pay good money for a product, I should be able to extract it from its package without undue hardship. I should not have to hunt for a tool in my house to open the package containing my new screwdriver. I should not have to look for bandages to cover the cuts on my hands from attempting to open my new box of Band-Aids. I surely should not have to risk slitting a vein with a sharp object to get to my new pair of scissors.
Even the most common product packages sometimes send me into a tantrum. I have practically crushed an entire bag of potato chips just trying to open the freekin’ thing. The same goes for the semi-clear bag inside the cereal box, that must be sealed with glue used on the exterior of satellites. And who hasn’t wrestled with the package containing those incredibly energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, like the poor woman in the photo? How much energy do we lose just trying to get the damned thing out of the impregnable plastic? I have come very close to throwing away a brand, spanking new CD rather than be forced to find a knife to slit the micro-thin, impenetrable covering that was apparently sealed onto the jewel case by magical forces beyond common human understanding.
And so, I find myself at the point in my life when I must ask the question that, sooner or later, all of us who reach the middle years will ask: why does it have to be so difficult?