Pack up all excess packaging


Good things may come in small packages but it’s a safe bet even that small package is held together by a half dozen of those pestiferous plastics tie strips.

Just like the dent in the bottom of a wine bottle and that little curved soft spot between your upper lip and your nose have improbable names, so must the nearly-indestructible and enormously strong plastic strips. I just don’t know what it is. And since nearly-indestructible and enormously strong plastic strip is way too long to keep typing and since what they really should be called cannot be printed in a family newspaper, I’m going to call them ties.

Have you bought socks recently? If you have, my sympathies. If you haven’t, avoid it at all costs. Socks are about the same as they’ve always been … too short, too tight, and too white. Two of these characteristics last forever. The last, however, is more fleeting than fairy dust. White socks do not stay white for long mostly due to the fact we put our feet (and hence our socks) into many unsavory places, such as our shoes. But because I could almost read this family newspaper through my existing socks, I went ahead a bought new ones. No one warned me. Specifically, no one had warned me about the packaging.

To begin with, there is always a plastic hanger from which the package of socks is dangling. It is not the hanger’s fault that the package is invariably dangling in the wrong place. People come along, pick up a package of socks, look at the packaging, and decide it’s not worth the trouble. Then they hang the package on any available rack which is why size 3 is in with size 10 and underwear is on the same rack as blue jeans. At least the plastic hanger has a function. The function of the hanger is to hang.

Almost always (but certainly not in every event), the tightly wadded group of socks is not dissembled there in the store. We have all seen exceptions to this rule wherein a package of six pair is now mysteriously a package of four pair. The occasional pilfering of two pair is no excuse to put the rest of us law-abiding citizens through the horror of taking the package apart once we get it home. Because once you get the cardboard label off and figure out a way to get the hanger wrested out of there comes the real test. The aforementioned tightly wadded group of socks is tightly wadded because shot through all six pair are too many…way too many…of those plastic ties. Now cutting or otherwise severing a plastic tie does not sound like one of the Herculean tasks. Slaying the Nemean lion, sure. That sounds pretty tough. Cleaning the Augean stables … thousands of cows for thirty years … and no front-end loader. Taking the girdle of the Amazon Queen … no, not that Amazon but still a daunting undertaking. But not even Hercules could break one of these ties. A nice sharp knife would do the trick except the ties are so deeply embedded in the socks your new purchase would not so much be socks as it would be socks with holes in them. Which is probably what drove you to buy new socks in the first place.

Those plastic ties are stretched to an impossible tension. So what happens when you do finally snip one apart? Why the pieces fly everywhere, of course. These pieces are small and blend in perfectly with every floor covering known to man. And, here’s the salient point…they’re sharp. You can brush your hand over the floor all you want. You could get out the sweeper but the shards are so pointy and dense they just rattle around in the spinning part of the sweeper and make a terrible racket. They never do suck up into the canister. The most reliable, fail-proof way to find these pieces is to take off your shoes and walk barefoot. Having one of these razor-like ties stab into the bottom of your foot is not restful. Sometimes, as an added bonus to a DIY acupuncture, your foot starts to bleed. Then when you put your new socks on, the initial un-whitening is accomplished. All this is very annoying. If the function of the hanger is to hang, then the function of the plastic ties is to annoy. Mission accomplished.

(Just because you’re dying to know the wine bottle dent is a punt and the lip thing is philtrum.)