Have you heard of not labeling something Easy Open when it’s clearly not?

My latest gripe involves Equate nutritional shakes from Walmart.

I enjoy a good nutritional shake now and then, but what I don’t enjoy is the battle that commences when I try to open the little plastic bottle. They have a strip of plastic around the cap and the neck of the bottle, and according to the “instructions” you are supposed to pull down at the point where it says EASY OPEN.

But alas, I repeatedly fail in my attempt to scrape, scratch, gnaw, tug, pull, yank, peel, pluck, tear, dislodge, or unencumber this immortal ring of plastic, that is until I finally secure the aid of a very sharp object to do my bidding. Ah, slice… That’s the word I needed.

Now, this is a product that is essentially geared toward older individuals, and I can only imagine the difficulty someone with weakness in their hands or arthritis in their fingers must have trying to open such a package. I imagine a lot of these things get thrown against a wall in a fit of anger and a cloudburst of expletives. Trust me, I understand. There are plenty of times I wanted to chuck one of these babies right out a window.

And while I’m at it, let me shed a little light on other packaging gripes I have… Hopefully, some of you will agree with me.

Let’s begin:

Disinfectant wipes!

Okay. How is it we have robotic surgery, but no one has yet been able to come up with a packaging design solution that allows for the easy dispensing of a cleaning wipe. Blammo Batman! I don’t get it. It’s 2022!

I don’t know about anyone else, but the simple act of purchasing a container of disinfectant wipes gives me anxiety because I foresee the painful battle that is surely to come. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly undone the entire contents of the plastic cylinder just in order to get ONE damn wipe. It’s like one of those magic tricks where the demented clown with blue teeth keeps pulling handkerchief after handkerchief out of his clenched fist — you know, how they just keep coming and coming and coming out and no one has the slightest idea where the hell they are actually coming from… That’s the visual I portray, including the demented part, when all I want to do is get rid of some kitchen bacteria!! Picture a pissed off Happy Gilmore saying that, and you’ll get the idea of my state of mind at that point.

I popped open a new container just a while ago and it even has a label right on it that says: First wipe ready to go!  Bullshit Arm & Hammer! It was literally one long knotted string of Rain Fresh scented wipes that looked like bed sheets after a torrential spin cycle in the wash machine. Arghhhh!

Moving on.

Sliced cheese packaging or anything that has one of those zipper seals you have to activate with a firm pull before getting to the goodies.

You know what I’m talking about. The packaging where you first have to Tear Here (and you never clearly ascertain where the here is) to get to the zipper seal part that you open by pulling apart like some holy guy did with the Red Sea. I am tearing here! It doesn’t work! I still can’t open the bloody thing! And that’s when I reach for a pair of good scissors and have at it. There! Zip that provolone cheese! Don’t even get me started on trying to press the seal back together. Ugh. And I believe that holy guy was Moses.

And you’ll all appreciate this one because it really hits home for this website, Cereal After Sex… Cereal bags!

Okay, I’m trying to get to my Raisin Bran, not a tomb of gold at Fort Knox. Now I know why cereal is so packed with vitamins and minerals… Because it’s such a strenuous workout just to open the damn bag. We need the nutrients! I pull and pull and pull on that superglued bag until eventually it either rips open in a very bad way and the cereal goes everywhere, or, you guessed it, I go to my old reliable — scissors — and just slice that sucker open. They should save us all the trouble and just include a pair of scissors with every box.

Whew. Now, I’m sure there are tons of other products out there that have horrible packaging. Isn’t life hard enough as it is? Why pile all this on top of us, too? Is this just another sinister plot to control and demean us? I don’t know, but if you have a few horror stories of your own related to packaging frustrations, please share. Until then, I’m going to try and open my bottle of prescription nervous pills.


Have you heard of not being a racist ass clown?

The Associated Press has reported that 31 members of a white supremacist group were arrested in Idaho on Saturday for planning to riot during an organized pride event.

The story caught my eye because I used to live in Idaho, and I loved it. It’s a beautiful state. It also caught my eye because of the subject matter.

According to the report, CLICK HERE, Coeur d’Alene police were tipped off after someone saw the men pile into the back of a U-Haul truck at a hotel — “like a little army.” Yeah, that’s real smart.

After they were stopped, police found the men had riot gear, including a smoke grenade, shin guards and shields. A photo accompanying the AP article showed men with their faces covered and their wrists bound together in plastic zip ties behind their backs when they were arrested. One man was wearing a shirt with the words “Reclaim America” emblazoned on the back of it.

Well, isn’t that just great. Which America are they trying to reclaim? The “Liberty and Justice for All” one? Doesn’t seem like it. Seems like they want to make their own rules and with their own hateful liberty in mind — “an uninformed patriotism” — as Barry Howard wrote in an op-ed for Good Faith Media:

The phrase “for all” is inclusive, not discriminatory. “For all” means we aim to provide and protect liberty and justice for all individuals regardless of gender, race, economic status, political ideology, or religious background. To preserve liberty and justice for the privileged few is indicative of a shallow theology and an uninformed patriotism.

I am of the mindset of let people be what they are, who they are. If you’re not hurting anyone, live your life as you see fit. The same goes for these would-be rioters. They’re free to believe what they believe, despite what I think of it and how harshly I disagree. But once their aim becomes to hurt people, to infringe on the rights of others, to resort to violence, or even worse, murder, in order to fly their own brand of flag, count me out. I don’t want any of it. Nope.

And the bottom line is hate is just wrong. Right? But then again, I hate these people for being so hateful. So, am I wrong as well? Am I hypocrite? I don’t think I am. Maybe hate is too strong a word. I just don’t understand their mindset. Why is your focus on stepping on the necks of others? How do you feel joy in that? Why are you so enraged? And to target a pride event. Are you that threatened? Love is Love. And Hate is Hate. Which way are you going to go? How are you going to get to the disco? In a limo or a tank?

I don’t know what that last line means. It just came to me. I don’t know why, but I am having some trouble writing this article. I don’t know if it is because I am so disgusted by these people, or just plain disgusted by society in general, that I can’t fully release all the thoughts that I have cloistered within me. I am so exhausted by the division in this country, in the world. I’m so exhausted by the rhetoric and the misinformation and the dutiful ignorance. It derails my own focus. It derails my attempt at mindfulness. The world is a distraction to my own peace of mind.

I look at the picture that was attached to the AP article and all I see are cowards. They cover their faces with cloth. They shade their eyes with sunglasses. They consider themselves “soldiers”, but they are anything but. Their intent was to harm and disrupt, that much is clear. Who knows what would have happened in Coeur d’Alene if they had not been stopped? Thank goodness they were stupid.


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Have You Heard of a Library?

Has the definition of LIBRARY changed, and nobody told me?

I’ve always considered the public library to be a place of quiet solitude where people go to browse books, read, write, do research, study, and surf the internet — among other things — in a distraction-free atmosphere. Apparently, things have changed.

Once again, I found myself in the local public library to get some writing done. I use the library at times because I don’t have a home office and since we live in the country, our internet is a bit challenging at times. But more importantly, since I am presently a house husband trying to be a writer, it’s nice to get out occasionally and be in a different environment.

This particular trip started out peaceful enough. But then, a gaggle of schoolchildren (probably late elementary, early junior high years) descended on the place and chaos ensued. As the clamor of young voices rose and bodies stampeded to and fro throughout the building, I began to wonder if it was something more akin to an amusement park or a Chuck E. Cheese and not a library as the sign outside read.

I understand children can be noisy and overly energized at times, but when you are in a public library, shouldn’t there be some semblance of decorum and restraint, regardless of age or hormone level?

When I write on my laptop at the library, I use my earbuds and listen to meditative music for writing on Youtube. Yes, that’s a thing. It’s great. But it’s not enough armor to deflect the yelling and carrying on of rambunctious school kids working on whatever project they were working on. It was probably something useless in relation to their future place in the world. How about having them do a project on how to act in the library? There’s an idea for you. Let’s teach our kids something useful.

Maybe I’m just being a stick in the mud again, as evidenced by this previous post: Have you heard of shutting your face?

But is it really unreasonable of me to expect the library to be a quiet place and not a roaring circus with flying methed-up monkeys bouncing off the walls? I think not.

The sad thing is, there was a teacher involved in leading this pack of wild animals. She apparently didn’t set any rules beforehand and did nothing to temper the noise and running around once it took off. Nothing at all.

And neither did any members of the library staff. How is this allowed? It’s a LIBRARY!

I do not get it.

Am I wasting energy on this? Does it make any difference if I bitch about it?

Probably not. Or maybe it’s just good therapy for me. Congratulations dear readers, you’ve been promoted to psychologist.

Now, even though the schoolchildren weren’t technically heckling me, it kind of felt like it. They were disturbing my work. Maybe I should go over to the school while those kids are trying to take a really important math test and start heckling them. That’ll show ‘em. You know, like that Seinfeld episode where Jerry goes to the office of one of his hecklers and boos and hisses her while she’s trying to work. … No? Nothing? It was a TV show. Back in my days. Look it up on the device of your choice.

My wife says I should go to a coffee shop instead. We have a nice one downtown that is rarely busy, and they have free WiFi… And coffee. And pastries. And a clean restroom. I think I’ll try that out and see how it goes.

I suppose I can wrap this up with simply saying that at times I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle against inconsideration as a whole. I often wonder if it’s just me. Maybe my nervous system lacks a protective shield. Maybe I’m not genetically built to live on this planet. Maybe the star people dropped me off at the wrong stop and I’m just wandering around with the wrong kind of soul.

Have You Heard of Not Being an A-Hole?

Internet Archive Book Image / Saint Nicholas serial, 1873

Is it just me, or does the world seem to be producing more assholes exponentially?

Has my personal perception shifted, and I’ve just become more in-tune to the hateful and obnoxious things humans do because as a society we tend to focus on that? Or does the collective conscience of the world continually adopt an even greater and real negative attitude toward kindness and consideration? I struggle to wonder why.

As someone who worked in the news media business for several years, I encountered many “bad news” zealots raising inky torches and eager to live by the creed: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Roughly translated as: When bad things happen, it’s good for business. I was never comfortable with that, but I had to make a living.

Now, in all fairness, I must confess that I have my moments of not being the nicest person in the world. I have my moments of anger, frustration, and unkind words. Just ask my wife. I know I have worn her down, but she has the patience of a saint and a forgiving heart and if it were anyone else, I’d probably be single for the rest of my life. She is the essence of true love and for that I truly love her.

But when the dust settles, and I’ve come to terms with what I’ve done or how I acted toward someone — I feel bad about it. I feel guilty. I feel remorse. I feel the need to apologize and make amends. I feel the need to be kind again.

But I get the feeling that’s not true for a lot of people — and I think that is what perplexes me the most. The fact that some folks are perfectly content with being A-Holes and actively seek to be that way. It’s their chosen lifestyle. They revel in it. And like I said, that’s the part I just don’t get.

How do these people sit down and enjoy dinner at a restaurant with any sense of contentment? How do these people sleep at night? How do they find any comfort or peace in how they live their lives? Are they just utterly blind to the errors of their ways? How do their brains process and maintain the acceptance of actively wanting to be an A-Hole? When did being an A-Hole become a desirable trait?

I’m shaking my head as I often do.

I won’t go into the origin story of how or why people evolved into A-Holes — I’ll leave that task to greater minds than mine. The point of this article is the fact that A-Holes exist. They are real. They are plentiful. And they haunt our world.

Now, there are varying levels of A-Hole. They run the gamut from the person who lets a door slam in your face on your way into a building or rides your ass in traffic to the unfathomable A-Hole who decides they will walk into a grocery store and let loose gunfire on innocent and unsuspecting people because of the color of their skin — like it recently happened in Buffalo, NY. Like the devil’s godfather himself, a hate-riddled A-Hole to the highest degree.

Although innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, I hope in the end this A-Hole gets what he so rightfully deserves.

When I go out into the world these days, I must unfortunately accept the fact that I will be swimming in a giant sea of A-Holes. I can easily pick them out. I must have A-Hole radar. There’s a look to an A-Hole. There’s that determination in the eyes to cause unrest. There’s that smirk of entitlement. There’s that obnoxious swagger up to the convenience store counter, the throwdown of snacks, and the blaming of the innocent clerk for everything that’s wrong in the world. To live by the A-Hole code is to live as an obnoxious jerk set on dismantling any inkling of human kindness, love, and joy.

But in fairness once again, not everyone I think is an A-Hole may actually be an A-Hole. I’m sure of it. I get that people have bad days. I get that people are frustrated (probably with A-Holes). And I get that we never truly know the struggles of others. But even so, there are those out there that seem to delight in making life uncomfortable for the rest of us. And I don’t like that.  

Am I an A-Hole for writing this?

Have you heard of shutting your face?

I went to the local public library as an experiment in trying to get some peace and quiet so I could get some writing done. It failed miserably.

Instead, what I found was a den of inconsideration for the needs of others. I guess that’s no surprise these days. As the running around and wails of children rose higher and higher, I quickly began to question if this was a library or a fucking daycare.

Maybe I’m just a bitter post-middle-aged man who doesn’t care for the free-spirited and clamorous cries of high-octane toddlers in a quiet space intended for reading, writing, and study.

Do I have a stick up my ass? Is it seriously too much to expect a library to be void of noisy and obnoxious distractions?

My god! If your kids want to run around and scream, take them to the park – or a hockey game! Or at least temper their outbursts with some calming discipline or a Flintstones’ chewable valium.

But it’s not just the amped up children causing distractions – full-blown adults are to blame, too. I’m talking about the ones who think the library is the perfect place to carry on a cell phone conversation loud enough for everyone to be a part of. Really? I don’t need to hear about your cousin’s latest bout with explosive diarrhea.

Then there’s the folks who find it perfectly reasonable to yell to each across the entire room.

“Did you find that book yet!”

“No!”

“Then quit wasting time and come up over here and asks the person at the desk!”

SHHHHHHHHH!

It got to the point I wanted to scream myself. But instead, I shut down my work, packed up my laptop and walked out. I was left defeated and uninspired and unable to accomplish anything I set out to do. Frustration. It seems to haunt me everywhere I go.

Part of the problem is, I’m easily distracted. It’s difficult for me to focus sometimes and so I’m much better off in a quiet environment. I’m nothing like my wife. She could read a book at a death metal concert and comprehend it all with the clarity of an unmuddied lake.

But this isn’t the only incident of unwanted clamor when the situation dictates some level of quiet and respect that I have recently experienced. Just the other day, my wife, myself, and my father-in-law attended my stepson’s senior awards ceremony at his high school.

We were all disappointed to see a lack of attention and respect when speakers were at the podium presenting awards. Granted, some of the lists of award winners were long and tedious and maybe some parts of the program could have been better executed, but that still doesn’t excuse some of the behavior we sadly witnessed.

Many people, students mostly, were talking among themselves as if they were in the lunchroom swapping unwanted sandwiches and stories of weekend sexual conquests. There were several points in the program where we couldn’t even hear the presenter speaking – and they were using a microphone. Many of the students lacked any sort of interest in the accomplishments of their peers and made it quite apparent by meditative and deadpan stares into cell phone screens.

The sad part is, there was only one teacher/administrator who even vaguely addressed the problem – and even then, used only a brief, disgruntled glance toward the crowd. Someone should have stepped up to the microphone and politely demanded attention to the matters at hand. No one really did, and when it came time for my stepson’s awards presentation, we struggled to hear what was even being said.

I felt bad for my wife. This was a big deal for her. It was a proud moment for her that she wanted to treasure. But it was left somewhat tainted by the inconsideration of others. Even so, she was glad to be there and requested a transcript of what was said during her son’s presentation. The written word will always have value.

And I have to wonder if it is all a generational thing – this lack of respect and attention and any consequences for it. My father-in-law let it be known that such behavior back in his days would have never been tolerated – it would have been stopped – abruptly, and with vigor.

What can I say? Maybe I am just becoming a grumpy old man and my tolerance level just isn’t what it used to be. I’m not that old, though. I’m younger than Johnny Depp.

Now you kids get off my lawn!

Have you heard of 15 items or less?

I was wide awake and dreaming in the express lane at the food store.

“That’s 15 items or less mam, can’t you read the sign? It’s all lit up there in green and white in the grocery line.”

She had more like 15 times 15 items in her cart and damn coupons on top of that. I could tell the wild-haired hippie clerkie was getting all screwed up in his mojo by her lack of consideration for the rules and etiquette of grocery shopping.

I could tell the guy ahead of me, the guy with the black plastic basket with just a few things in it, wanted to punch her in the face. I could tell he was a bit peeved with all his heavy sighing and mumblings under his breath which soon became audible to the world over the loudspeaker:

“You dumb bitch!”

So, as I said, I was wide awake and dreaming in the express lane at the food store. My life clock was on hold. I looked around and all I saw was candy bars and flustered clerkies running here and there because they looked all short-handed and stuff and I guess that was because of the wildfire and everyone on fire and dying.

So, the world stopped inside of me whilst it spun like a swarm of horny hornets all around me. I thought about the universe while I looked at chocolate bars. We know the universe is there – but where exactly is THERE. Where IS the universe? Chocolate bars with almonds. Coupon-clipping clods taking up time and space. Why am I so worn out and disheveled?

The beep, beep, beep of the checkout lanes buzzed around in my head. I was there, but I was not there. I was thinking outside of the box, I always think outside of the box, way outside of the box, because I do not like the box. The box is full of narrow-minded doinks easily swayed by false flags and idiot box propaganda. 642 channels and there is nothing on.

I waited and waited, grasping my shopping cart like a baby carriage, gently rocking the carton of organic milk and bag of donuts into a restful sleep.

I noticed how her inflated flesh was packed tightly into her polyester, frantic pants. She seemed annoyed that the clerkie wasn’t doing his job properly when he slammed her hunk of watermelon down on the counter.

“Please be careful with my watermelon! I want to speak to your supervisor!”

Are you fucking kidding me?

If it wasn’t against the law, I would have pulled up a couch and coffee table and sparked one up right then and there. But then everything is against the law, isn’t it? Slamming someone’s watermelon is a violation of someone’s rights, right? Everything is a violation except for the ones who create the code of violations and place them in our heads and warn us that they are violations.

It’s 2:06 a.m. and I cannot sleep. It’s too hot to sleep. I have words tumbling around in my head that make no sense and I need to just tap them out for right now.

529 words, no make that 531 words, no … 538 words … of blah.

I am looking at the spine of a book on one of my bookshelves: The Day After Roswell.

 Turn to page 137 and the seventh sentence will be your future:

“He told the New York Times in 1955 that the nations of the world will have to unite, for the next war will be an interplanetary war.”

Just what I need, interplanetary war.