Here is a repeat of one of the first blog posts I made on the Curmudgeonly Professor.
Now, I am going to fulfill my role as a curmudgeon and consider some of the irritations of modern life. Please don't tell me to get a life. I have a right to be irritated if I want to be. My role model is Andy Rooney on Sixty Minutes. I clip my eyebrows, so I don't look as menacing as he does, and I have very little hair on my head. But I think I can match him, irritation for irritation.
Last week I was sitting peacefully in my recliner chair, which retired people are supposed to do, after all, when all five foot six inches of my wife loomed menacingly over my head, waving a cracker box. "Look here," she said, "it says clearly here 'Open This End'. Why did you open the other end and tear the box apart so that it can't be closed?" I was speechless. Then I said, "Hey, I'm a Doctor of Philosophy. I know stuff. I have a Ph.D." To which she replied, "Well, if you're a Doctor of Philosophy you ought to have brains enough to know which end of the box to open." I never check which end of a box I am supposed to open. I know from past experience that not only do both ends look alike, but that neither end can be opened. I had committed a major sin from which, apparently, no forgiveness was possible. I said, "Well, both ends look just exactly alike." But that didn't get me very far. Then she delivered the crowning blow: "Besides that, you ate all the crackers."
All of which leads me to a brief essay on the wonders of modern packaging. People who make stuff have a special staff of people with MBAs and engineering degrees who design containers, boxes, and packages that are impossible to open. They encase things in industrial grade plastic that would survive any disaster and which must be opened with a chain saw. They invent special glue so you can't open a box if you try to. After my scorching experience with the cracker box, I tried to open a cereal box, fully mindful of my new obligations as to box opening. I carefully determined which end of the box was the top and which was the bottom, and I thought, aha, here is the top, which I am supposed to open. I'm in good shape now. Then I carefully, meticulously, tried to peel the box top back where it says to open it, and the darned thing wouldn't budge. I persist, knowing the penalty for messing up another box top. Shortly, however, since I am an important personage and my time is valuable, I rip the miserable thing open so that the neat little tab thingies will never fit together again. Now I have the challenge of opening the plastic baggie inside the box. Unfortunately, the little plastic baggie gets ripped down the side so that the cereal all spills out when you try to put some in your bowl. Were these results my fault? Nay. They were the fault of some moron in the cereal factory who gleefully said, as he or she glued the boxes together and inserted the baggies, "This ought to outsmart the dopes who buy this stuff." I hope his or her retirement pension shrinks to nothing and that he or she loses his or her lunch money in the pop machine.
This subject is a complex one, so I know further discussion will follow. We haven't even touched on self-sealing baggies. Stay tuned.