Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Army's Greatest Invention

Products that are packaged in that clear, hard plastic sometimes really bug me. I admit that I like to see the entire product that I am purchasing, which the clear plastic usually allows. However, it is after I make the purchase and try to open that damned plastic that the bugging occurs. Some marketers are intelligent enough to have the packaging sealed at a couple of spots so that once those are pried apart, the package opens.

Those marketers are, however, in the minority. For most products, the plastic packaging is sealed completely around the product in a way that reminds of the time when I super-glued my glasses to my index finger in a failed attempt to repair the frame. It took me quite a while and a trip to the drug store to purchase some acetone (not the best method but the fastest) to unbind my finger from the glasses frame with out removing my skin.

Yesterday I purchased a pair of shoe inserts that a nurse friend of mine suggested may help me walk with less strain on my tank-accident injured leg. I found the inserts she recommended and was delighted to see that they were on sale for thirty per cent under their normal retail price. However, when I returned home and tried to open the package, I realized that the edges were bonded together with super glue strength.

So, being the handy dude that I am, I decided to simply cut through the plastic. The only pair of scissors I could locate wouldn’t cut paper much that the damned plastic. Being in my kitchen, I started to reach for one of my good chef’s cutlery when I remember what cutting plastic does to knife blades.

I proceeded to the master bedroom and attempted to locate one of the half dozen or so pocket knives that I have purchased or been given and that I keep forgetting to carry with me. I searched six, uh, junk drawers without locating a single knife. Then, as if the good Lord was guiding me (which I don’t believe for a moment—the God I know doesn’t work that way) I spied the perfect cutting instrument at the back of a drawer:

In case you don’t recognize this handy little wonder, it’s a P-38 can opener: the army’s greatest invention. It was still attached to my dog tag chain along with my army dog tags (still in the neat plastic holders I was given as a new second lieutenant) where I placed it almost forty years ago. That little jewel of a tool opened a lot of C-Ration cans for me!

And, it cut through that damned plastic packaging as if the stuff were soft butter.

Perhaps I should remove the P-38 from the dog tag chain and start carrying it in my pocket! No, I won’t do that, ‘cause I’ll misplace it as I have all of those pocket knives. Rather, I’ll return it to its drawer and make a mental note that I still possess one of the army’s greatest inventions, just in case I have to cut through some more plastic packaging or my electric can opener decides not to open something.


  1. Glad you were able to break into that pesky packaging... Grrrrrr, it makes me so angry when the packaging is like that.
    Lucky you found the perfect opener.
    Hey, when you wore that around your neck, didn't it cut or poke you ?
    Take care, Meow

  2. MEOW: Nope, it didn’t cut me because it folds closed. Perhaps I should have taken a photo of it in that position.

  3. Nick, I know exactly what you mean. A lot of bad language goes on around here when I'm trying to open one of those *%@$!*! plastic packages.

    Maybe I should join the defence force just to get one of those gizmos.

  4. I thought that this was going to be an ode to dog tags and I was going to share how I always loved looking at my Poppop's dogtags that my Mommom used as a keyring after he passed away. It didn't matter how many times I read the dog tag, whenever I'd see her keys sitting on the kitchen table (or, I had them in my possession as I was driving her car)...whenever I'd see them I just had to pick them up and look at the dog tag.

  5. Hi Nick ~~ I truly sympathize with
    you I often say "opening things is my hardest job" As a result I have small
    scissors in all the rooms I use and that is a big help. Thanks for the kind words about my recent posts.
    My team Carlton got flogged. It is Australian Rules football and we love it here. There's always next week.
    Take care Nick, Regards, Merle.

  6. Packaging drives me crazy too but my sure fire way of opening stubborn packages is to leave them where either of my extremely inquisitive german shepherds can find them. Of course, I have to be ready to reclaim the contents before they're too well chewed...

  7. I know those old can openers well.

    Box cutters work fairly well too but you have to be careful.

    I'm waiting for the first lawsuit from someone who's cut themselves on those packages. I've almost done it a couple of times.

  8. Wow, the army really did something right. How great that you still have it, too.

  9. I hear you, Nick. I am routinely driven bonkers by unbelievable secure packaging!! Extremely frustrating.

  10. I wonder if the army still makes that knife. I bet they've gone with pull-top lids on their cans now.