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Chiang Mai Citylife > Articles > 2010 > 2010 Issue 08 > An Odd Job for Oddjob

An Odd Job for Oddjob

I have a problem.

“Only one?” says a voice over my left shoulder as Mrs. D walks past the computer.

OK – so maybe I have several but there is one in particular that has got worse over the last few years. I can’t open things any more. I don’t mean things like bank accounts and wallets (although a lack of funds makes both pointless right now) but just the stuff that we buy. For example, this morning all I wanted was a small chocolate bar to go with my coffee.

A recent shopping trip meant a family six-pack had been purchased and with only two left, one of them had my name on it. Technically, they had the brand name on (think “self-assembly feline”) but either way, one of them was mine. Could I open it? Could I heck!

Its wrapper appeared to have been welded in position and no amount of tugging was going to move it. Following an incident with a particularly strong bag of peanuts that resulted in both contents and a piece of tooth flying across the room, biting my way in was not an option. Have you seen how the price of dentistry has increased recently?

I have seen Mrs. D open beer bottles with her teeth, a feat that is both impressive and scary at the same time. So, as she walked past the other way, I whimpered a bit and handed her the chocolate bar. She duly ripped the packet open and ate it in one flowing movement without even losing her stride.

I have the same problem with crisp packets (or chip packets if you are American). You pinch a small piece either side of the bag and pull and… nothing happens. So you increase the pressure a bit more… a bit more… a bit BANG! The packet explodes without warning with the result that I end up fighting with the dogs to get some of what has landed on the floor.

DVDs are another one where after a few minutes of fumbling, I usually have to hand it over to Mrs. D who is able to simply use her talons to rip it open.

We bought a fire detector the other day that was ensconced in see-through concrete. Failing to open it with my hands, I got some cutters and started to snip round the edge. Having created an opening, I stuck my fingers through and tried to wrestle the product out. All that happened was that I had to spend ten minutes trying to clean blood out of the rug as I cut myself on one of the sharp edges.

If we were in America, I could have sued them but we’re not so with a flash of inspiration, I decided that maybe the plastic was too brittle. I got my lighter out and started to – well, suffice to say we need to buy another fire detector.

I know I am not as fit as I was but everything still works. “Everything?” says Mrs. D as she walks back the other way. “Not helping Dear,” I shouted after her but ignoring her dispersions about my performance and why she kept walking back and forth behind me, why does product packaging have to be so difficult to open?

At least I now know that I am not alone. The hard plastic bubble used on many electronic gizmos and toys for example was introduced to combat shoplifting. It even has its own term to describe the anger one feels when unable to open it; “wrap rage”. It is estimated that worldwide, it is responsible for over 500,000 visits to emergency rooms each year as people resort to increasingly sharp objects to gain access.

What I need is someone to help me open my packets. Someone like “Oddjob” from the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger”. Although he had a propensity to throw his steel brimmed top hat at 007, I bet he had no trouble opening things. He would be perfect as my wrapper-beating henchman.

As Mrs. D walked past one more time, I got up and followed her, stopping at the fridge to pick up the last chocolate bar. As I leant against the doorframe watching her sort out one of her art and craft boxes, I tried to open it. After a few seconds of ineffectual rustling, she looked up and said in her usual caring way “give that bloody thing to me you wimp.”

As she tore the bar open with her teeth, I said “just think darling – you are just like that fat bloke from “Goldfinger”. You are my very own Oddjob.”

She looked at me for a moment and without a word, ate the last chocolate bar. She licked her lips and with an icy tone said “Well that’s the last job you’ll be getting from my mouth for a while…”

Bugger. Guess I’ll have an apple.