Column: Open, says me


Everything I bought my wife for Christmas had to be returned. Wrong size, wrong color, too expensive, too cheap. You name it, I blew it. On the other hand, I am keeping everything she got for me. Not because my wife has such exquisite taste (although she does), but because I totally destroyed the boxes when I opened the gifts.

Generally, I am not good at opening things. The one exception is carryout pizza boxes. But closing the pizza boxes? No way. Where do those flaps go? Inside? Outside?

Here are several things I have trouble with:

OPENING A PACKAGE OF MEAT: Or cheese, or a bag of pretzels, or anything that says EASY OPEN or TEAR HERE. I usually tear NEAR THERE, which doesn’t cut it. Actually, that’s exactly what I end up having to do. I cut the bag with a pair of scissors and put everything in a Ziploc bag (which, by the way, I am not very good at closing, either).

OPENING REMARKS: At local charity events, I am often asked to make opening remarks to thank everyone for coming, for being so generous and in some cases for braving the bad weather. Over the years, this got kind of boring so I started making the closing remarks, instead. I say the exactly same things. But it’s too late to matter

OPENING A NEW ACCOUNT: Do I use Dick or Richard? Should I include my middle name? Do I put dashes in my Social Security number? What is the difference between my account number and my routing number? Yes, I know my favorite cartoon character right now, but will I remember it’s Donald Duck after two Bloody Marys?

OPENING MY FRONT DOOR: Usually, when we get home for the evening, I fiddle with the lock and my wife asks, “Are you sure that’s the right key?” Once when I took too much cold medicine by mistake, it wasn’t the wrong key; it was the wrong house.

OPENING MY MOUTH: Yes, this has been problematic most of my life. Mark Twain said it was better to be quiet and thought to be stupid than to speak up and remove all doubt. It’s a shame I didn’t read any Mark Twain until I was 22 years old. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble when I was a kid.

OPENING THE DOOR FOR MY WIFE AT A RESTAURANT: Do I walk ahead and push the door open or linger behind and pull it back? Of course, it depends on which way the door opens — but I don’t know that until I get to the entrance. My wife always asks me why we eat at the same place so often. “Do you really like the food?” she inquires. No, but I remember which way the door swings.

OPENING THE CAR DOOR: I push the remote button to unlock the doors, but my wife keeps tapping on the window on the passenger side. I try the remote once more, and the driver’s side locks again. Finally, I lean way across the seat and manually open her door. This doesn’t happen all the time. Just when it’s raining.

OPENING A JAR: First I bang on the lid, then I run hot water over it. Finally, I rummage through the kitchen drawers and find this contraption that works perfectly on a ketchup bottle, but it isn’t big enough to open the applesauce. Everything should come in a squeeze bottle. Except mayonnaise; mayonnaise in a squeeze bottle is un-American.

A final note: I wrote that last paragraph very quickly, but the opening paragraph took me forever.

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