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Opening Up

     Broken fingernails, stubborn cardboard, stuck-on-forever tape. Opening up is hard to do. Below the perforated thumbprint the package instructs you, "Press here." No one told the package it was supposed to give you a break. No one told the package to open up when you're pressing your thumb with centrifugal force against the open-here spot.

     I don't cook that often any more but Kraft macaroni is a quick and easy meal – especially if you add a little shredded jack cheese and skimp on the milk. So I get the ingredients together, the ingredients being a box of Kraft macaroni, a package of shredded cheese of your liking and some margarine and milk. Utensils – a stirring fork, a knife to slice the oleo and scissors to open the package of shredded cheese. Oh! And a pan to cook the macaroni. And six cups of water to cook it in.

     While the macaroni's cooking I can sneak into my bedroom and open the poster I ordered for Paul's birthday. Have to make sure they sent the right one. Expecting Selena Gomez and getting brown cows in the pasture isn't going to go over too well.

     The water's heating. That part was easy. Now to open the box and pour the macaroni into the pot. Isn't that nice? They've made a special place to just press to open the box so you don't have to try to pry loose the glued together ends of the box. I position my thumb over the designated press spot and press. Nothing happens.

     Not a dent, not a squeak, nothing. So, not one to give up easily, I press again – a little harder. Nothing happens again. Not a dent, not a squeak. My thumb is getting mad. It presses hard as it can – with the might of my entire arm behind it.

     If you look real close, you can almost see a tiny indentation somewhere near where my thumb attacked the cardboard. But that's all. This is not going to work. I know because I'm much too familiar with non-dentable perforations.

     After I give up and struggle to pry the end flaps open, I pour the macaroni into the pot and sneak off to check out the poster. Shouldn't take but a minute. The poster's rolled up, tight as a boxer's fist. No rubber band holding it together, the ends are taped. I find an almost-loose end of the tape and slip my fingernail under it and I pull. A tiny piece of it suddenly breaks loose, leaving the poster as tightly rolled as it was before and me getting up off the floor.

     Five minutes later, with grit and determination, I get the tape off and unroll the poster. No, I don't. There's more tape under the tape I pried off and, as tape often does, it sticks. Plus I still have the other end of the scroll to un-tape.

     Oh! Forgot the macaroni! Run back. Stir the macaroni, drain the macaroni, cut open the package of cheese and plop the cheese in with butter and milk and stir. The extra cheese was in one of those self-sealing plastic packages that you have to open above the self-sealing strip and clearly says, "Pull here" above the strip.

     Surprise! "Pulling here" didn't work. I tried pulling "there." That didn't work either so I got the scissors and cut where I was supposed to pull. Halfway across the scissors slipped over into the self-sealing strip and totally mangled it.

     Opening up is hard to do.

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