Fantastic Plastic



Christmas is over and it is time to put away the ribbons and bows, the tape and wrapping paper, the tags and bags, to put the tree out on the curb to be recycled, and spend some time reflecting on what we have all wondered about for years; just what is that miracle plastic packaging that encases Nintendo game accessories made of?

You know the packages I am talking about. You go to your corner Wal-Mart in search of one of a gazillion Nintendo game accessories that your child has to have and find an eensy little memory cartridge locked inside a clear hard plastic package designed to withstand the most novel approaches to open it from dear old Dad.

The edges of this package have been crimped tight with the same crimping device that is used to seal nuclear reactors from leaking radiation — the type of leak that could spoil an otherwise fine day. I guess the same philosophy applies to Nintendo game accessories. Out of their packages, they could spoil an otherwise fine day — one where Mom and Dad try to enjoy a quiet moment.

But memories of those moments fail to deter us from attempting to open these packages. By golly, we have invested several thousand dollars in a Nintendo game system so our children can engage in war games more complicated than joint naval maneuvers between the United States and Russia.

Breaking into these packages is in itself strategic. First, you attempt to attack them with knives or hatchets until your frustration reaches a level so great your skin begins to change colors ala Bill Bixby in the Incredible Hulk.

Second, after you break in, the exposed packaging edges are so sharp, you risk acquiring a cut so severe; the resulting scar would impress the likes of Robert Shaw who gets knawed on regularly by a great white shark on the Jaws network.

What surprises me is that the auto industry has not yet caught onto the near indestructible nature of these packages. Cars manufactured out of this plastic would be impervious to dents and scratches.

For that matter, there are other industries that could probably benefit from the use of this packaging technology. Banks could do away with all their fancy electronic laser security systems by simply placing their holdings in a transparent safe made out of this plastic. They could put the safe right out on display in the lobby of the bank. All the patrons would be able to see that their cash and diamonds are safe and secure, although they will never be able to get them out again.

And what about the dog chew-toy industry? If your dog is anything like ours, you buy him a chew-toy and he devours it in a matter of minutes. If they made chew-toys out of Nintendo plastic, your dog could chew on the same toy contentedly for his entire lifetime. In fact, all the subsequent dogs you ever own would be able to chew on this one toy. It could be passed on from dog to dog like an heirloom.

The benefits to the dish and glass-making cartel are obvious.

But I suppose these benefits really weigh in favor of the consumer. If we had dent resistant cars, dog chews that lasted forever, unbreakable dinnerware, and cash we couldn’t get our hands on; our consumer-based economy would be driven to its knees. So, like run resistant ladies stockings, and ever-lasting batteries and light bulbs, the aforementioned products manufactured out of Nintendo plastic packaging will never see the light of day.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get in touch with my inner Incredible Hulk.

Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.

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