Maxed out 

Fa la la la la, la la la la

By G.D. Maxwell

I like to think, as we approach the season to be jolly, I can dispel the negative thoughts and stresses accompanying it and generate, in their place, kind visions of peace on earth and goodwill towards men, women and, if pushed, even tourists.

To accomplish such a feat of uncharacteristic jocularity, there are just a few things I have to get off my chest, issues to work through as those in the helping professions fuzzily refer to them.

The most prosaic of these can, largely, be laid at the feet of one group. I like to think of hell – when I think of it at all – as having a special little corner, a foul-smelling, vermin-infested, scabrous, sweltering, flesh-burning suburb where eternity is spent by chemists, engineers and marketers responsible for modern packaging. This slice o’ hell is a soul-singeing laboratory where condemned men and women sit on hard stools padded with splintering shards of glass and spend an endless perdition, repeatedly and unsuccessfully struggling to open the packages they’ve foisted on the world.

I get no end of satisfaction imagining whomever is responsible for shrinkwrapping CDs ripping their fingernails to ragged edges searching vainly for any weak spot or seam in whatever devilish polymer they’ve cooked up to keep music in and people out of jewel cases. I smile silently to myself, an angelic countenance gracing my brow, seeing them cry out in frustration as they lose the last hanging remnant of their last bloody fingernail and are reduced to hopelessly gnawing at each corner in turn, over and over again, as the unyielding monolith wears down the remaining stubs of their blackened teeth, their own sense of hopelessness growing as they realize the impossibility of their task. Touché.

The cries of anguish coming from the CD room are, of course, but a single voice in a tortured choir of their fellow professionals who, facing the grim prospects of their own eternal damnation, are forever testing their receding brilliance, ingenuity and physical dexterity to do battle with potato chip bags, single serving condiment packages, childproof caps, security sealed envelopes, cereal boxes that can’t be opened without wholesale mutilation, ziplok packaging with zips more tenacious than the tensile strength of the plastic from which they’re made, an unending assortment of containers from which liquid cannot be poured without cascading over every downstream surface except the one desired, and pickle jars engineered to reduce an able-bodied man to a whimpering, limpwristed shadow of his former self.

Long may they burn.

Wow, I’m feeling more festive already. Let’s see, who’s next on the list?


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