So, while driving to Oakland down I-80 from Sacramento the other day, I was doing what all good people in the friendly climes of Northern California do, and that is I was listening to NPR on the radio. NPR is good because you hear stories there you don't anywhere else, and being a guy who enjoys stuffing my head with obscure, and some would say, useless, facts, I learned something THAT MADE PERFECT SENSE.
You know that plastic packaging things like mobile phone earpieces and other electronics come in? I'm talking about that molded plastic that is hermetically sealed together as if the manufacturer doesn't want you to enjoy the product you actually just paid for? The packaging that requires a plasma torch, 43 lbs. of dynamite, multiple bouts of colorful profanity, a few prayers to a god you really don't believe in, and the ritual sacrifice of a neighborhood stray cat, just to pry open a little corner? The packaging that gets you so pissed off you lose it, grab your razor sharp $200 chefs knife out of the kitchen, and start hacking away at it like a middle aged white male with mother issues on a thrill kill spree? (you know, the guy with 14 bodies buried in his backyard that the neighbors always felt was "a nice guy...kinda quiet though" when interviewed by the press when the story goes national?) And once opened (and by "opened", I mean you managed to tear, not cut, a small hole with your chef's knife ((now in need of professional resharpening)) in conjunction with liberal use of your teeth, somewhere near the vicinity where the product is contained, but not close enough to gain actual easy access to said product, which requires you fishing the product out with your fingers like you were trying to get the last olive out of a jar), the plastic has razor sharp edges that result in a situation that it would be far safer to stick your hand down a running garbage disposal than into your products packaging? Your vain attempt to fish out your Bluetooth from this razor sharp maw results in a cut so deep it requires a trip to the emergency room, partial loss of sensation in your left index finger for the rest of your life, a tetanus shot, and a $50 co-pay? Just because you wanted to actually use your BRAND NEW FUCKING iPod earbuds?????? Yeah...THAT stuff.
Anyway, I used to wonder "Who in the hell is responsible for that shit? What retard thought this was a good idea????" Well, here's where the NPR story comes in. Turns out there's a factory in San Antonio, Texas, (land of funny accents, barbecue and Republicans) that packages things in this material. And this factory is predominantly staffed by...the mentally challenged. Which, when you think about it, makes sense. The whole gist of the story was this positive take on how great it was that there were jobs for the mentally handicapped. And it is. Great, that is. And you should have heard how proud the workers were of their work. "Well, you gotta get it REAL HOT! It won't work if it's not HOT! Gotta keep your hands outta there! HOT! HOT! HOT! Then it works! But only when it's HOT! See? It's HOT!!!" OK Corky, I got it. The plastic has to be hot. But why are we letting those with the sense of a cocker spaniel (sorry, yes, I know, I'm going to hell) package my ear buds? I know Corky needs a job, but what about my chef's knife? My $50 co-pay? My sanity???? Maybe Corky and Rain Man should be employed elsewhere in the manufacturing industry...like making kitchen towels. That would be great. You'd have your kitchen towel with a fucked up and crooked design on it, and when a friend made the wise ass quip, "Hey, nice dish towel. That's quite a design there" you could shame them with the retort "Actually, that towel was made by the mentally handicapped who are finding ways to be productive and reintegrate their way into valued members of society. But thanks for being a dick." Then you could feel all morally superior and everybody wins. You. Corky. Everybody. 'Ya know?
Anyway, I'm all for everybody having a purpose in life. Seriously, I am. I just want my headphones...minus the hospital bill.
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