OPEN ME FIRST: The LAGuide to maximizing your holiday gift pleasure.
The packaging epidemic is in full swing in America. Every thirty seconds someone stays hungry because they cannot open their package of cereal, crackers or chips. In response, our local gym is offering an associate membership that allows you to bring up to five food items a week for them to open. No wonder millions of Americans eat only fast food—the grease lets the meal slide right out of its package.
There is nothing worse than the holiday season for opening and assembling gifts. The sheer number of gifts and the need to enjoy them before the start of the New Year can be staggering. It is estimated that for each million boxed items containing more than one part, no more than two are put together correctly. Late last December, my Cousin Myron—a fire-eating, red-headed, math genius, called and ordered me to his house. When Myron calls, I respond. When I got there, I found him staring at a hermetically sealed box containing, it claimed, a flat screen TV and home theater. Somehow, the package was only the size of a shoe box and had the density of an average black hole. Strewn around Myron were several large knives, a razor, a hacksaw, and what I believe was an acetylene torch. It was cold and drafty. He had thrown a very comfortable arm chair through one of his picturesque, picture windows. Myron was brief. He screamed, “Open the damned thing.”
That is the reason, here at Stevieslaw, we are proud to announce the publication of “Open Me First,” the Less-intelligent-than-average American Guide to opening and assembling your gifts. In the guide, you will learn that:
1. opening the outer box sets the stage for the rest of the ordeal. We will teach you Zen and Yoga meditative principles to get you in the proper frame of mind. A short prescription and over the counter drug list is also included. You will learn to recognize “this side up” in over seventy languages, how to deal with the combination of staples, super glue, reinforced tape and plasticized straps made from a material that holds submarine hulls together. We will thoroughly discuss which sharp tools can be used without voiding your warranty, how not to totally destroy the UPC code which conveniently straddles the box’s opening, and when to take your puncture and infected paper cut wounds to the local emergency room.
2. removing your lovely gift from its package is never easy. We will teach you to avoid the mistake—made by millions—of wondering how will I ever get this back into the package if I have to return it. You can’t. The “gift” has been hammered into its cardboard package by hundreds of elves with very tiny hands and a large hydraulic press. If you need to return the gift, just shovel it and its packaging into your trunk. We note that most of the white beaches around the world are now completely covered with the plastic foam material that encases your gift. Do not break up the foam material no matter how much fun it looks like. In the guide, we will teach you that the electrostatic charge on this material is so strong that you will find little sections of it clinging to your floors, ceilings, clothing, and children forever.
3. identifying the “open me first” envelope, buried now under the mass of gift pieces, and perhaps containing the instruction manual and the set of tools and hardware that comes with all challenging reassembly projects is critical step. The guide will make it clear that it is sometimes easier to learn Korean, Swahili or Vietnamese than to find the section in the instruction manual written in English. You will also learn that two dimensional pictographs of the three dimensional assembly are much, much worse than useless. Sadly, you will not find yourself able to laugh at this. You will learn to move the hardware envelope to a secure and sterile site before attempting to open it. The guide will also include a special section on opening the hardware sleeve. We will teach you to organize the screws, bolts and tools and to recognize that each little piece of what seems like belly button lint is a critical piece of the assembly. The guide will hammer home the important and little known fact that none of the hardware and tools have been made on planet earth. They can not be replaced. Ever.
4. sensing the need for intervention is an indispensable skill. The guide will show you how to recognize the instant at which “this glorious gift,” becomes “this damned thing.” We are sure you will find the section on “cursing like you were born in Brooklyn” as a sign of “assembling your gift overload” invaluable. You will learn, from the guide, who to call and where and how to sit to defume while a deft teenager assembles your white elephant using nearly all the pieces.
The LAguide “Open Me First,” will be available at Stevieslaw for $19.95 on December 15th. A handy kit to extract the guide from its packaging is available for an additional $4.95. A handy kit to extract the handy opening kit for the guide packaging is an additional $1.95.