The Roundup -

Jar Lids, Other Instruments of Devil


Remember when we had strength in our fingers and wrists? Peanut butter jar lids opened easily, bottle caps twisted off with a flick of the wrist, and bags of pretzels or potato chips didn’t stymy us as we attempted to open them. It never occurred to us that possibly we would reach an age when jar lids would present a small problem. Rather, we figured we could conquer any lid, bottle cap, or bag of treats that passed our way without a second thought.

Not so, my friends. I spend more time now trying to open some jar lids than I do vacuuming the floor (OK, OK, so I am NOT all that particular about vacuuming, but still….). Lids can present formidable problems, refusing to budge a millimeter regardless of how many little tricks I try or how many different little handy gadgets that I use on them. Sometimes this unmoving lid can generate extreme frustration on my part.

A few months back my sister gave me a large jar of artichoke hearts. I dearly love artichoke hearts, they cost more than my budget usually allows, so my enthusiasm knew no bounds. My mouth watered in anticipation of consuming a few of these delectable treats. However, the energy and stress involved in breaking the seal on that lid caused me a lot of unexpected grief, so I figure I most definitely earned my right to eat those tasty little tidbits when I finally achieved success at opening that blasted jar of goodies.

I first attempted to twist off the lid. Hah, what an exercise in futility that proved to be. We are discussing a large wide mouth jar with an equally large top, so I couldn’t even get my hand around the lid to get an adequate grip. No sweat, I figured I’d just dip the jar mouth under hot water, and then gently tap the lid with a knife to break the seal.

Well, those efforts proved to be a colossal waste of time. I tapped, tugged, dipped, then tapped again, each time using just a little more force and each time becoming just a shade more annoyed and frustrated. I still couldn’t budge that lid.

None of my handy dandy little jar openers would cover that large lid. I didn’t have a pair of pliers large enough to put around the mouth of the jar, and I could find nothing else remotely suitable to use as leverage. I turned the jar upside down and banged the top against the floor, I smacked the rim sharply with a heavy knife, I ran hot and cold water around the edge of the lid, all to no avail.

I thought with great chagrin of my arrogant youth, when I could open jar lids without a second thought. And I remembered to my shame how I used to make little snide comments to my mother when she would hand me a jar to open after she had struggled unsuccessfully for some minutes to get that lid to budge. I would twist that top off with ease and hand it back to her with a flourish. Foolish youth, thoughtless comments, and now I understand what payback time really means.

I may have some age on me but I still retain a shred of pride. Pride would not allow me to take the jar across the street to a neighbor, nor would it allow me to phone my brother-in-law and request help, nor would it permit me to wait until my husband came home to help with this situation. Instead, I continued to struggle with that container of artichoke hearts for what seemed an eternity.

Eventually, the repeated pounding and smacking broke the seal, and I actually got the lid off and could indulge in those most delectable morsels. I am not a patient person by any stretch of the imagination, so this ordeal left me totally stressed and in an incredibly foul mood that even the soothing taste of an artichoke heart could not dispel.

Jar lids aren’t the only instruments of the devil that we mortals decide to fool with. I’m thinking of weed whackers in particular as an instrument only a very evil imp could invent. I no longer will even attempt to use such a contraption; it is faster to pull those weeds with my teeth than to use a weed eater, also known by me as the instrument from hell. These useless tools don’t want to start, they figure they ought not to run for any longer than 15 seconds tops, the string disappears or knots up at the slightest provocation.

I won’t use a weed eater. I don’t need that sort of aggravation, but I DO need to open jar lids. Fortunately for me, I have thought of a rather devious plan. The next time a jar lid fixes to ruin my day, I’ve got news for it: it won’t. I’ll just pretend I have never attempted to open that particular jar, and will hand it off to my husband and ask him in my most sincere tone of voice if he would mind opening the container for me. He has pride as well, and he will get that jar lid open come hell or high water.


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