(Note from Kevin: It’s summer. Time for me to take a break from writing about learning and technology and all of that. I am going to try to write some short humor columns about other things over the next few days. One of them might evolve later into something to submit to our local newspaper. Or not. I’m going to call this series “Other Stuff” because I am feeling very wordy creative right now. Honest. Today’s piece is inspired by my realization that they just don’t make cereal bags like they used to. )
Here’s what I imagine: in some factory somewhere, as loads of Captain Crunch or Rice Krispees or whatever cereal you like is being pumped into boxes by some machine, some worker is using a massive glue stick to close up the plastic bag that is dropped into the box by another worker farther down the line. I know this is some false idea of the breakfast cereal factory, probably inspired by some distant memory of Laverne and Shirley or I Love Lucy. The reality is more likely robots doing the work.
The glue stick — the one being held by that worker — is super powerful. In fact, the glue stick is probably something designed by NASA for plugging up holes in the International Space Station and somehow, the owner of this factory knew the director of NASA’s glue stick center (maybe they went to kindergarten or something and, ahem, bonded over glue). It’s so strong that maybe BP should give them a call and mention a little hole that needs plugging up. Anyway, the glue gets rubbed on by the worker at the cereal factory, the bag gets closed, the bag gets dropped into the box, and then the entire thing is delivered to the store where I go out and buy it and bring it home.
That’s the chain of events. So far.
Oh. I forgot something. Something important. The plastic for the plastic bag. Unlike the glue, which is clearly an incredibly adhesive, the plastic bag that holds all of those particles of cereal is made of such poor quality that I imagine it being concocted by some strange scientists who are trying to outdo each other on who can make the weakest bag possible. They have daily “bag tearing competitions” in which they determine which bag design rips the quickest and with the biggest tear. That design is awarded some trophy. Maybe the trophy has an emblem of Captain Crunch on it or something. I’m really not sure.
So, here I am, the mild-mannered consumer at home the next morning (or maybe it’s dinner, if I am a bachelor with no one to smirk at me for having a bowl of cereal for the main meal of the day), with my box of cereal that features the combination of the most powerful glue in the world coupled with the weakest plastic pouch in the world.
Listen: I remember being a kid, and perfecting the opening of my morning cereal. I could, in fact, do it all in one seamless tug, right along the seam, so that the top of the bag opened just the right amount. Sort of like a little mouth. When I tipped the box, the mouth would open up and out would pour my breakfast.
Now, when I try my patented rip method, the entire bag splits open from the sides, cereal pouring out like the Mississippi in spring. The bottom of the cardboard box becomes now filled with cereal. I want to leave the cereal pieces in there, probably out of laziness if I am being truthful, but if I do, then I will have to contend with the possibilities of either stale cereal at some later date or an invasion of ants into the cupboard. Or maybe a scolding from my wife. Take your pick. So of course I pull the plastic bag out of the box, and dump the spare cereal from the box into my bowl. The rip in the plastic bag, of course, takes on a life of its own, moving like the vertical fault line of an earthquake as it gets bigger and deeper. The bag completely splits, the cereal spills and the dog is at my feet, munching away at the debris.
Somewhere, a raving scientist is shaking his fist in celebration. But not at my house. In my house, I am left holding the bag. Literally.
Peace (in the crunch),