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It's just plastic.


It all started perhaps ten years ago when we were visiting our dad, affectionately referred to in the family as The Chester. One of us needed a ball point pen so I rummaged through a few desk and kitchen drawers in my search. It was a little odd to notice a pair of spanking new scissors in every drawer. Out of curiosity I asked The Chester about them and he said, "Wait a couple of years and you'll know about them. There is no sanity in a life without scissors". I tried to anticipate the punch line but that was it. Evidently life without scissors was a coming attraction, an intro to a new manic phase of life.

His words were prophetically accurate. One day Harriet came into the kitchen when I was wrestling with a bag of potato chips. Evidently there was a crazed look on my face as I growled, "It's just plastic" in my most desperate exorcist voice. Three fingers nails were already broken and my teeth were bleeding. The chips were shredded slivers safely tucked away in what must have been Plutonium Nitrate Plastic. The name and the product nutritional information had been obliterated from the package. What is more, I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich without chips that day.

Several weeks later a large envelope arrived in the mail. It contained a personal letter from the president of one of America's premier companies and the guaranteed winning entry number for their billion dollar give-away. The manila envelop was sealed with several pounds of Kryptonite adhesive. My Bunsen Burner, welding torch, an M-80 explosive, or vice grips wouldn't break the seal. In frustration and anger I threw the thing into the neighbor's mail box. He won a million $$ a week for life.

Then, there was the jar of pickles sealed with Gorilla Glue. Or, those devilish plastic pill bottles that contain my medical prescriptions. Or, the wicked plastic sleeve thingys they use to package cheese sticks. Or, the plastic six holed maze contraptions that bring soft drinks to the house. Or, those little cleaner wipes wrapped in soldered aluminum foil. They're all the reason for The Chester's scissors and the new ones in every drawer in our condo. Life without scissors is suddenly insane.

Well, that translates to two power truths about these times. One is the necessity for this kind of secure packaging of common American products. It all started in Chicago in 1982 when some criminal deposited cyanide tablets in Tylenol bottles and then placed them on drugstore shelves for purchase by the public. A number of people died in this unsolved murder spree. Copy-cat criminals duplicated this murderous insanity in a number of ways over the years. It's one of the reasons life without scissors is insane. Our consumable products are secured in packages that are less penetrable in public. For the most part today, these maniacs have more difficulty infiltrating products and getting them back on the shelves. It's just another reminder of the sinful nature of man. and, that life with scissors is really difficult but necessary.

OK, it's reality time in another sense too. You know, the ole' grey mare ain't what she used to be. There's nothing sexist about that either. The same is true of the ole' grey stallion too. Us boomers are crossing an age divide that is making scissors necessary to even open a pack of chewing gum. My nearly seventy-year old arms and fingers were never weight room specimens. When I scream 'It's just plastic!" I'm remembering the days when a potato chip or cookie bag was a single, effortless tear. It's true, in a previous life they weren't locked away in NASA adhesive. But, at the same time, these old fingers and knuckles were a little more nimble then, and stronger too.

There's a precious Scripture I used to read to our mother as she struggled with the cruel symptoms of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), commonly known as Lou Gehrigs Disease. When I visited her I always read a selection from 2 Corinthians. These verses encouraged and lifted her. And, today, they are great reminders to me---

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to

God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not

driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always

carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in

our bodies.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-20, ESV

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being

renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal

weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to

the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that

are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18, ESV

Life without scissors is insane because, like it or not, the outer self of every one of us is in fact wasting away. The joy that keeps us from losing heart is that the inner self can be renewed day by day.

May it be so.

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