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.


The Rascals of House Hunters

My wife and I love watching House Hunters, especially the international version of the show. It’s been a thing for us for a long, long time. We love to yell at the people for making stupid choices.

Now, we know a lot of the show is fake and from what I read the people have already made the choice of what house they want even before they are filmed “house hunting.” I also read that sometimes the show utilizes younger actors to play the buyers who in reality may be old, ugly, and boring. Something like that. But even with all that in mind, it really grinds my gears when I see people who make a living as “social media trendsetters” or “lifestyle enthusiasts” or “product ambassadors for an international marketing start up” or “nomadic online fashion consultants” and they have a budget of like 2 million dollars and I’m just like “WTF!”

Just once, I’d like to see a guy who vacuums for a living and makes 13 bucks an hour trying to buy a house. Now that’s putting reality in Reality TV.

My wife understandably gets frustrated with my House Hunters frustration. I just can’t help it, though. I’m an edgy individual. Take last night for example. The buyers were two guys — 23 and 24 years old, respectively, who were friends and business partners — who earn a living by making YouTube videos about video games or something like that. It was never made totally clear. But nonetheless, they supposedly have 2 million subscribers to whatever they do and in turn must make a shitload of money because they were looking at houses priced around $1.3 million. I just sit there and shake my head and I truly don’t understand it. How!?

Am I envious? Yes! Am I bitter? Yes! Why? Because (with the exception of the last two years of my semi-retirement and “working” as a struggling writer) I have worked my ass off my entire life at jobs that were killing me emotionally… And for what? I never got ahead. I never got noticed. I barely squeaked by. And in the end, I got kicked to the curb like a bag of trash because of some corporate algorithm. I bang my head against the wall and holler to the heavens, “What am I doing wrong! I just want to live, not suffer to live!”

It seems so damn easy for so many others and some days I struggle just to get up, make coffee, and do the laundry. Sigh.

But then I look over at the corner of my desk and I see a pile of notes from my wife. She leaves me a love note on my desk every morning before she leaves for work. Even if I have been an ass. I’m usually still sleeping. But reading her note is pretty much the first thing I do in the morning. They are a daily reminder of all that we have, together, in this life. She’s my Reality TV.

I know I bitch and moan about life plenty, but she is always reminding me of what truly matters. And when I stop and really think about it, instead of getting caught up in the charade of societal guidelines, it doesn’t matter I don’t have 2 million followers or a million-dollar house. I have our simple sweet life together, and though it’s not always easy and often fraught with worry, fear, problems, and so on. The love we have is the richest in the world.

Well, that ended completely different than I thought it would. But she’s good at getting me to turn things around when I need it most.


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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.