Daze of My Life: A Package Deal That Isn't
Daze of My Life
A Package Deal That Isn't
by Kenneth B. Lourie
There's a scene in one of my favorite Three Stooges two-reel comedy shorts,
"Hook, Line and Sinker," that reminds me of Christmas, sort of, at least as it compares with the opening of gifts after they've been unwrapped. This is always a challenge--more so today than ever before. In fact, if the packages were any more difficult to get into, you might have to call the fire department for emergency assistance. I mean, what's more frustrating and patently absurd than the lengths (and widths, too) to which manufacturers--of hardware, software, retail, wholesale, perishable, nonperishable--have gone in recent years to prevent consumers from getting through their packaging and reaching the actual product?
Now that I'm writing about it, would updating the square-peg/round-hole
element (or what shapes and sizes more closely resemble what other shapes and
sizes are--so often part of I.Q. tests), be worth reconsidering in light of the spatial acuity and/or manual dexterity required to open some of the packaging protecting many of the products available to the public nowadays?
Heck, anybody can put a round peg into a round hole, generally speaking, but
let's see that same person open, or attempt to open, a package that contains a compact disk. Now that's a challenge and more likely accurate and current gauge of one's intellectual quotient than whether one understands a concept or can read between the lines, so to speak.
The particular scene to which I finally now refer to is at the beginning of the episode. It's the morning. Sleeping in public, underneath their parked car on a city street, a street-cleaning truck has just woken the Stooges up. As the day has now dawned, Moe starts giving orders to both Larry and Curly. Curly is told to patch a tire. Before he can get started, though, he wants to take off his sweater. Then the following exchange occurs between real-life brothers Moe (Morris) and Curly (Jerome, also known as "Babe") after Moe notices Curly's difficulties--grimacing and squirming with his arms crossed at his waist--while attempting to remove his sweater.
"What now, little man?" Moe snarls at Curly.
"I can't get out of my sweater," Curly answers.
"Did you have any trouble getting into it?"
"No," Curly says, "but I might have put on a few pounds since then."
"Yeah," Moe continues sardonically, "you might have."
You see, Curly can't pull his sweater up over his stomach because he has TB ("two bellies" from another episode).
Seventy years later, in today's world, because of the extremes to which
manufacturers have gone to seal their packaging, it would take a consumer like Curly much longer to actually get into that sweater, what with the tissue, the tags, the plastic attachments, the security devices, the cardboard, and the pins, than it would have ever taken him to get out of it, despite his girth.
Times certainly have changed. Then, Curly was just a stooge. Today, he would be a "victim of circumstance."
Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.