First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Shear Efforts

Steel Plastic

Last week I accompanied my wife to Costco. This one of those things a man does that has been married successfully to the same woman for 47 years. I had no intentions of traveling to Costco to purchase an item I had needed for some time. Linda (my wife and AKA the General) had convinced me that the item (flashlight) is best acquired at Costco, since she had noticed them and “they were exactly what I needed” and sold at a reduced price. I said something like,  “Look, I just need a flashlight for the car, and I am not in the least bit interested in doing a one mile walk around a big box store this afternoon since I did a 3 mile run this morning”. I received one of the looks.

Thirty minutes later I was about a ¼-mile into my one mile walk in the local Costco, when we came upon one of those 1/8-mile long isles. I noticed an eight-foot high stack of huge boxes with maybe ten individual containers of flashlights placed out front and to the bottom of the high piled stock arrangement.  OBTW firefighters hate high piled stock fires. Sprinklers do not put them out. They control them. This condition produces large volumes of what is termed “cool smoke”.  Cool smoke travels directly to floor level and is impossible to see through or to operate in, unless you have a thermal imager.  Bellying down doesn’t help.  Anyhow, I wanted one flashlight.  One of the ten commandments Costco corporate leadership abides by is, “Thou shall not sell one of any piece of merchandise to our customers.”  So I ended up with three flashlights wrapped up in this (what appeared to be) ¼-inch thick clear material.

When we arrived home, I decided to stay out in the garage and open up my purchase.  I discovered my prized purchase was encased in what appeared to be a rather tame version of man’s best commodity friend, plastic.  So being a man, I assumed that my peer demographic (another man) knowing our interest in retrieving our purchase with the least amount of angst, would provide a simple, expedient and uncomplicated manner to access the purchase.  What I found was there is no simple, expedient and uncomplicated manner to remove these plastic coverings.  In fact it is hermetically sealed by someone hell-bent on ensuring the frustration of anyone tasked with purchasing an item covered with this stuff and is raised to DEFCOM 4. If any of you reading this article is anxious to open a container using this material, do not follow the approach I took in this instance.

OK, so once discovering that no simple, expedient and uncomplicated method of opening this package was provided, my approach was to look for an object that had sharp edges coupled with carving capability.  Ah – Ha I found it.  My wife had left a pair of her prized cloth cutting scissors on my workbench. How fortunate (or as I found out unfortunate for me).  So I went about the process of cutting and carving my way into the material to acquire the (one flashlight) I really needed, when to my surprise my wife’s prized material cutting scissors were not up to the task.  In fact they essentially disintegrated into three pieces. They should use this stuff to protect the shuttle upon entry.  So being a man, and former firefighter, I immediately formulated a plan ‘B’.  First, retain all three pieces of the scissors.  Second, make use of a more appropriate tool to extricate my flashlight, a box opener.  The box opener worked perfectly (except for the fact that in my exuberance, I sliced a big scratch in one of the three flashlight handles).  By the way, one of the many important lessons I learned in Boy Scouts was, “Son, always cut away from your body when using a sharp object.”  As it turns out I did not take advantage of that important lesson in this case and sliced a three inch gap in my Levi Jeans.

Now For the Scissors Issue. I took the three pieces of scissors and placed them in a strategically concealed location in my car.  The next day I went to the store where my wife makes all her sewing purchases, matched up the remains of her scissors with an exact replica and purchased a new pair of scissors.  I knew where this store was located because I had been there on several occasions, and it is one of things you do when you are married to the same woman for 47 years.  Of course the new pair of scissors were encased with “steel plastic.”   I went to my workbench, whipped out my box cutter, carefully slashed the steel plastic in motion away from my Levis and easily opened the package and placed the scissors back where I had previously found them.  Anyone need a flashlight?  I have two I don’t need.

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