The people who are looking out for us

July 10, 1996|By C.W. GUSEWELLE

KANSAS CITY -- Spurred by reports that cardiac patients are dropping like flies while trying futilely to get to their nitroglycerine tablets, fresh thought has been given to the whole subject of child-proof packaging.

I'm not sure the new guidelines have been announced, but it's likely they will require that containers should be openable by any reasonably competent adult chimpanzee.

It is high time someone took a look at this problem.

Just yesterday, I injured myself while trying to open a package of child-proof lunch meat.

I was hungry, and I could see what I was after through the clear plastic. But I couldn't get at it. Evidently the cover was not just ordinary plastic, but some new, indestructible material developed as a spin-off of the aerospace industry.

Whining in the kitchen

My wife could hear me whining in the kitchen.

''What's going on in there?'' she wanted to know.

''I was trying to make a sandwich,'' I said. ''But it's no use. I think I've thrown a shoulder out.''

''You've what?''

''It's this [expletive deleted] package,'' I told her. ''I thought if I yanked hard enough something would give. Something did.''

''Should you call the doctor?'' she asked.

''I can't. I tried, but I can't read the phone book. I think I'm going blind.''

''No, they've just changed the type,'' she said. ''Made it smaller.''

''That's crazy! Why would they print a phone book nobody can read?''

''It's an environmental thing. It saves paper and reduces the volume in the landfills. It will be better for everybody in the long run.''

''The do-gooders have finally won,'' I said. ''First they starve me. Then they cut off my communication with the world. I don't get it. Why do they want to keep kids out of the lunch meat?''

More deadly than children

''That's not child-proof. It's tamper-proof.''

''What's the difference? I'll bet there are thousands of households all over this country where children are going to bed hungry because they can't get the package open.''

''It prevents obesity,'' she said. ''That's another hot issue. They say Americans need to lose weight.''

''Who are they?

''The people who are looking out for us.''

Eternal vigilance

''We're being looked-out for to death!'' I said. ''I even heard where they plan to make restaurants show grams of fat on the menu.''

''Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.''

''Well, all I know is I'm hungry and I'm hurt.''

''Maybe an aspirin would help.''

''I tried that, too. They've changed the cap, and I couldn't work it.''

''They're taking no chances,'' she said.

In this risk-free world, there's certainly a lot of pain. Not that it isn't good for us all.

C. W. Gusewelle is a columnist for the Kansas City Star.

Pub Date: 7/10/96

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