“Ripped package”
by illustir is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There are many totally useless academic courses being taught to our yoof, but there’s one which should be mandatory. It should also and especially be made available for all who’ve left educational establishments long ago. Perhaps such course could be put online, with lots of videos. It should be developed and taught preferentially by all our mechanically-gifted Puffins.

I’m talking about ‘Openology’, which is the science of opening parcels, packages, boxes, jars, tins, bottles and yoghurt pots wrapped in extra cardboard.

I’ve had occasion to moan about this before, but since then things have become worse. Let me – right here, right now! – refute strongly any arguments that I’ve become older and feebler and thus more useless at opening the necessities of life! That’s tosh, that’s piffle and not worthy of a comment!

The first and most important course content would be about how best to use Stanley knives, screwdrivers and scissors. We don’t want to bleed out on the carpet while trying to open a simple box of chocolates, do we! There should also be some handy advice – with video, natch – about the proper use of screwdrivers when trying to lift a lid from a jar. Having to mop up honey on the kitchen floor, from a burst glass jar, is a fate sincerely to be avoided. The use of kitchen scissors or, for more delicate items, of nail scissors must also be part of this course.

But why, you might ask, has this subject become important?

Well, first of all we know that without an academic degree one is lower than the belly of the proverbial snake in the grass (don’t mention Michael Gove!). So this course would provide a perfect opportunity to become an ‘academic’. After all, if grass-mowing is part of an academic course, so should ‘Openology’ be.

Secondly, we’re all into protecting and saving rNHS and we do not want to become a burden for our heroic, Tik-Tok-dancing nurses, do we! Just think how catastrophic it would be to end up in those crowded A & E departments … oh wait … Well, it’s actually about not becoming a ‘Ronah fatality’ by picking up that bug in said A & E: we don’t want to provide BoJo with numbers to keep his Lockdown going, right?

And thirdly: the packaging fiends have made things even more difficult. This started well before CV-19 hit these shores, so “we’re keeping you safe from the virus” is no excuse – reject it! This obsession with keeping everything sold “safe” has been around for some time. Now it’s become “keep everything even safer”. Obviously, keeping us out of the item we’ve bought is the ultimate aim of the packaging fiends. One can’t be more “safe” than by being prevented to use what one’s bought.

There’s packaging to prevent us from actually getting at the item we’ve paid money for, then there’s more packaging to keep that packaged item ‘safe’, and when one’s finally got to that, there’s yet another barrier to keep one from enjoying what we bought. And I’m not talking about medicine containers here – those blister packs are another issue, well worth an extra video!

Thanks to Lockdown, more of us will have made acquaintance with ordering stuff online – so while you’ve had practical experience before, in jamming a Stanley knife into your hand, or a screwdriver, bleeding on the floor included, now it’s ‘different’.

We need to be taught about modern tapes which are no longer plastic – thank you, Greta! – but are paper with intrusions of plastic strings to keep thieves out. Well, it’s certainly keeping me out! That’s where a video on the proper use of scissors and stanley knives really comes into its own.

Then, after you’ve waded through the wonderfully ecological brown paper ‘filling’ to keep your item safe (styrofoam pellets are out), you find the inner package. That’s not the end of it – that is another layer, keeping your actual item safe and preventing you from getting at it.

This is where the next Openology content video is needed: how to open a package which defies even an Origami Artist. The latest ‘development’ by those package-developing fiends is to glue down the part one is supposed to pull out. And since it’s now all made of thick cardboard (recycled, natch), even once you defied the glued-down part, it’s still not plain sailing. I humbly suggest that our more sporty-inclined Puffins might provide us with video content as to how best to turn opening such packages into a perfect exercise for strengthening the upper body, using brute force properly.

And once we’ve learned how to wield sharp implements without killing ourselves (remember: ambulances are still for CV-19 victims, not for us plebs, so don’t use those sharp implements without having done that first part of the Openology course!), once we actually hold the item in our hands, there’s one more hurdle to take. We need a video on what to use to defeat the meanest piece developed by the packaging fiends: the modern scotch tape.

This scotch tape is so transparent that you won’t be able to notice it at first glance. It’s so sticky that trying to peel it off alway ends in defeat. It’s made worse by the fact that those ‘luxury’ packs (it’s always ‘luxury’ items) are generally enclosed in some clear extra wrapping where the transparent scotch tape can’t even be seen properly.

What we should be shown in this final course video is how to wield a magnifying glass in one hand and the finest nail scissors in the other – without dropping that item. The magnifying glass is necessary to discern first where that damned scotch tape actually is, then to find the proper place to employ said nail scissors, to slice through it. All that without having the content of that scotch-taped item end up on the floor. That must be avoided at all cost because this fiendish final barrier is mostly used on ‘luxury packs’ containing food or chocolates. We know that what’s on the floor belongs to our Puffin pups – a feast! While our dogs are very useful in mopping up food from the kitchen floor, like yoghurt or cakes, we must protect them from eating all those chocolates: huge vet bills will ensue …!

So there you have it: we urgently need an academic course in Openology, and I’m certain Puffins are the only ones who can set this up and run it properly and design a proper course certificate.

Now where’s my First-Aid kit with all those plasters and bandages?

© colliemum, Going Postal 2020

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