It’s Time for Another Great Pete Shaw “Classic” Column: “Rest in Plastic”

Pete Shaw wrote this column for the Nov. 17, 1994 issue of my (then) Running Springs based newspaper. I love it…..hope you do too!


potato chips wavyI’ve never understood why companies spend millions of dollars advertising their products and then package them in such a manner that you risk serious injury or teeth-gnashing frustration trying to gain access to the items therein contained.

Opening a large bag of chips can shear off fingernails and cut lips in an attempt to chew off the tops. I have found that the best method of opening the sack is to place it on a hard surface, jump into the air and hit the bloated object in a sitting position. Oftentimes the bottom blows out first and you must serve the chips upside down. Besides being inefficient, this method is somewhat undignified and misunderstood in large social gatherings.

Once you have gained entry to the chips, the next challenge is to open the dip container. It has a little ring you pull to peel back the top to create a round razor blade that can take a thumb or finger to the bone. I wonder how many jalapeno cheese dip freaks have dipped their chips while regulating the pressure on their tourniquet.

In order to bind the wound from the top, it is only natural to reach for the band aids. Have you ever tried to extricate a band aid from its wrapping while you bleed to death? Trying to grab the little red thread with trembling fingers and blurred vision is tough enough but when you find your new challenge with these two little strips that cover the adhesive you’ve lost a couple of pints.

Along with your dip and chips, you grab the plastic liter bottle of soda and try to twist off the plastic cap that just turns and turns while the carbonated fluid escapes in little explosions down the side of the bottle.

Embarrassed, bleeding and wet, you pick up the new cassette tape to play during your snack and discover that there is no way to penetrate the cellophane covering. Temporarily crazed, you grab an ice pick and attack the neatly packaged treasure until your new Neil Diamond tape has just been stabbed to death in your homicidal frenzy.

Suddenly, you feel an angina attack coming on. You race to the medicine cabinet, grab your nitroglycerine prescription container and with the stubs of bandaged fingers attempt to rip open the glue-sealed cardboard box only to find a vial that can be opened only by consulting with a mechanical engineer

After solving the “King Tut Mystery” you discover a cotton wad embedded in a hole designed to discourage human access. With this final and terminal obstacle, you succumb. Using the most contemporary undertaking techniques, your loving friends and relatives view you resting in your open casket, shrink-wrapped in heavy plastic, with your bandaged hands crossed over your chest….clutching your vice-grips.

Over the new gravestone, the letter R.I.P. begin in a memorial statement: “Rest in Plastic!”


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