While shopping at a local hardware store for a replacement furnace-blower filter, I purchased a rechargeable flashlight. It was an impulse buy. The flashlight is the kind that plugs into a socket when not in use, providing a night light of sorts for easy access in the event of a power failure. I drove home feeling good about myself, because everyone needs a rechargeable flashlight.
After about five minutes of attempting to open the packaging, I realized I was getting nowhere. A thick, plastic space-age polymer covering had been vacuum-sealed around the flashlight kit. Some kind of cardboard insert had been molecularly bonded to both sides of the plastic, probably the same stuff used throughout the Space Shuttle to keep deadly gamma rays from penetrating the hull. The package laughed at a Ginsu paring knife and absolutely snickered when I dug out a pair of heavy-duty kitchen scissors. Pruning shears barely scratched the surface. Used to be, when I was younger, I seem to recall opening most packages with a fingernail.
I took the thermonuclear-war-protected plutonium-encased flashlight down to the basement, where I cleaned off Dad’s work table and clamped the flashlight into a 70-pound vise, tightening the screw until my shoulders groaned out loud. I decided against using a nearby hacksaw, opting instead for a wicked-looking pair of tin snips hanging on a far wall.
By golly, there was a faint WOOSHING sound as the covalently bonded packaging molecules fell apart. The flashlight’s ON-OFF switch tumbled to the floor, neatly severed by the snipping action.
I drove back to the hardware store in a cloud of silence. The good folks replaced the flashlight, no questions asked.
This time around, I’m taking a break from immediately opening the package. Next week, I suppose, when I have several hours to burn, I’m going to return to the basement and give that hacksaw a workout.