Fort Knox Has Nothing On Everyday American Product Packaging

Compared to the challenge of opening a plastic package of sliced sandwich meat, I have little doubt that I could waltz up to the fabled Fort Knox, open each steel-reinforced vault with a casual twerk of my ass, load up with gold bars and then pirouette into the sunset with merry visions of obscene lifetime yachting adventures.

Forget nukes, caldera volcano explosions, plagues, locusts, and random EMPs caused by the cataclysmic friction of Kardashian thighs rubbing against each other: The over-packaging of everyday American products is the Great Doom lurking on the horizon of our most apocalyptic nightmares.

The distinctly American obsession with over-packaging every mother-freaking thing that can possibly be sold under the sun, no matter how banal, shall be the catalyst that one day drives us all to turn upon each other in mad cannibal rages of species-annihilating psychosis. (Well, at least in America—they don’t have this problem in Germany, for example.)

What is it about the American consumerist psyche that demands the First Level Cardboarding, Second Level Plasticization, Third Level Childproofing, Fourth Level Strip-Stippling, Fifth Level Batwing Pull-Tabbing, Sixth Level Metallic Peeling, and Seventh Level Moron Safety-Valving required to access a meager package of cold medicine or bloody f*#$ing underarm deodorant?

One would think the average person were attempting to get their greedy paws on weapons-grade plutonium instead of splitting fingernails down to the agonizing quick in a struggle to remove the “quality wrap” atop a canister of shaving cream.

The nation is manic with this practice. Superfluousness, thy name is a dental floss container! Excessiveness, thou art the gilded layers of bottle-throttling bullshit around a six-pack of ginger ale!

Don’t even get me started on the prestidigitations and other blood vessel-bursting maneuvers needed to denude a desperate little microwave combo-meal these days.

At first, I thought, “Why get frustrated? This kind of labyrinthine overproduction is probably a boon to someone’s economic livelihood! Factory workers in the heart of Indiana are able to put food on the table for their kids by stirring vats of the six different types of glue needed to seal the nine different “cherished customer choices” offered to get the hell into this box of breath mints. This means that the country is still manufacturing … something.”

Then I look at the sextet of lingual labels on any given thing and see that the whole goddamned lot of it comes from China, or worse, CANADA.

Talk about getting one’s timbers shivered.

From whence derives this nearly neurotic facet of American hyper-elaboration? Packaging certainly was not always this Byzantine in scope.

I thought and thought about it with the laser-like precision of an anthropologist peering backward into the mists of human experience long-forgotten but nevertheless hard-wired, by this point.

And I had my answer!

It all came from that freakish and tragic spate of Tylenol cyanide poisonings back in the 1970s or early 1980s. I barely remembered the panic as a child and was stunned to imagine that all these subsequent years of overwrought wrapping and foolproofing were the result of one madman’s anomalous and sinister interference.

But here we are. And it’s getting worse. The saddest part? Not only is the continued phenomenon frustrating and terrible for the environment. It is also completely unnecessary.

I mean, after all, it isn’t as if Americans are inclined to harm each other for no good reason, these days.


#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranWriter #ProductPackaging #IronicTimes #LittleFrustrations #BigTrouble #CulturalObservations #Consumerism


Hear ye, hear ye, any that care and possess the most meager speck of curiosity. Mr. Kieran is currently and furiously working on all four (maybe five 🤔) of his final writing/illustrative projects in simultaneous fashion. He can’t wait to be finished and rid of these legacies so that he can vanish with due haste into the most forlorn of mountain caves imaginable and there practice to his dying day any number of monkish asceticisms or maybe flat-out sorcery. Who the hell can say? Happy Holidays!

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