Every morning I have a routine.
I pour my orange juice. I drink it to wake up and wash down a bunch of vitamins and supplements. I then mosey over to my computer and see what headlines AOL has before clicking on Facebook. A few mornings ago I read a headline that really stood out. I may not have this exactly right, but it’s close:
“Breakthrough In Opening Pickle Jars Is Life Changing.”
Having lived on this Earth going on six decades I think I have a reasonable handle on what is or isn’t life changing.
Getting married is life changing. Having children is life changing. Complet-ing a marathon, finally getting that degree, getting and staying sober, holding your first grandchild, feeling the pain of that first pre-bald sunburn on the top of your head.
I think we’d all agree these would make the cut. And, obviously, there are more. Personally I’m hoping to be able to do firsthand research on how winning the lottery might rank near the top of the list.
But opening a jar of pickles?
Don’t get me wrong – I am a pickle connoisseur. I like ’em on hamburgers; I like ’em straight up. There’s a jar in my fridge right now. Big fat kosher dill halves, swimming in their own juices, cold and crunchy.
But would it be the end of the world if, for some reason, I wasn’t able to open the jar?
I think not.
But maybe I’m out of touch.
Is there an empty desk in an office somewhere because of this weak-handed affliction? Has this conversation taken place?
“H- … hello?”
“Steve? This is Bill. Are you coming to work today?”
“I … I can’t, Bill.”
“It’s been two days, Steve. Are you sick?”
“It’s the jar, Bill. I can’t … I can’t open the jar.”
“I was afraid of that. It’s the pickle thing, isn’t it, Steve?”
“It’s the lid. It’s too tight. I can’t get to the pickles. I can see ’em, but I can’t touch ’em. It’s like they’re laughing at me, Bill. I can hear ‘em … laughing.”
“Steve, it’s time to admit you need help. Before it’s too late.”
“Why is the lid so tight, Bill? Why?”
“Do the program, Steve. I’ll see you through it. You see, I’m …” He breaks down, then, sobbing, says, “I’m ‘lidally’ challenged, just like you.”
But now there’s a breakthrough. And I don’t know what the breakthrough is because I didn’t read the story. I can only imagine that the folks at Claussen got together in an emergency meeting and discussed ways to prevent their warehouses becoming full of unpurchased, unopened jars of pickles.
“Thank you all for being here on such short notice. Long story short, we got slapped with another subpoena this morning. The lids are too tight, guys. What’re we going to do about it?”
“We’ve been over this and over this, RJ. The boys in the lid department are stumped. Besides, they’ve never been too tight before.”
“Well apparently things have changed! Americans have gone soft for some reason. Or maybe it’s global warming. But whatever it is doesn’t matter. We’ve got to DO something about it or we’ll be up to our dills in litigation!”
“I know what we need, RJ,” one of them says.
“And what’s that?”
“An app that will open the jar for you!”
“You’re an idiot. Who hired you? Anyone else?”
“I think it’s obvious what we need,” says another.
“And that would be?” asks a skeptical RJ.
“A breakthrough. A pickle jar lid breakthrough.”
“By GOLLY!” RJ says, standing as he speaks. “I believe you’ve got something. Get on it right away! I want breakthroughs on my desk by 5:00 this afternoon. This,” RJ says, becoming suddenly filled with emotionally charged conviction, “could change our customers’ lives!”
And apparently they did. No longer will we have to suffer through the horror of being unable to open a jar of pickles. This may just go down as one of the all-time greatest breakthroughs in human history, ranking right up there with clip-on ties and Slinkys.
Surely the Nobel committee has an easy decision to make come 2016.
And while part of me wishes I’d read the story, another part of me likes the mystery of it.
What did they do? What is the breakthrough?
Think I’ll grab me a pickle and think on it.
Now, what did I do with that pipe wrench?
Written by Rick Jacobs, a regular Express columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.