Jam rage

There’s nothing like a tightly sealed jar of jam to undermine a grown man’s pride.

I am trying to look calm and awesome, but the simple lid on this ordinary jar is threatening my composure. Why must you mock me, little jam jar?

I try all the tricks: I rinse under hot water, I rinse under cold water, I bang the jar upside down on the table. Nothing works. From which dastardly lid sealing factory did this jar spew forth?

Some kind of evil genius must be at work. We are way beyond trying to keep germs out here. This is no ordinary tamper-free lid, it is a triple layered reinforced deadbolt locking system. It has been sealed with supernatural powers beyond my understanding.

From whom or what are you trying to protect the jam? Nuclear holocaust? Are giant monsters from that Pacific Rim movie on a world wide condiment binge? Why take it out on me, just an ordinary guy in a Bay of Plenty kitchen?

I’m not a weakling. I can lift things. Honest. Perhaps my hands are a bit smaller than average, so it’s harder for me to get a decent grip on the lid.

Aw, that sounds kind of lame, doesn’t it. Curse you, jam jar, for what you have reduced me to.

I grew a beard to prove to myself that I can be a man. What a traumatic few weeks that was. When a woman gets a new hairstyle everyone says, “Hey, what a great new look!” I grew a bit of extra hair on my face and people said, “What’s with the face mould?”

At least I no longer get asked for ID at the supermarket. I have kept the beard for two years now. There, see? I am a man. I can buy beer and no one will question me. So why can’t I open this stupid jar?

My skin is burning with indents from twisting at the lid. I’m using a tea towel now. My wrist is really sore but I learned as a teenager that there are some things you should never complain about in public. So I grit my teeth and try again.

Even if lives depended on it I could not open this jar of jam. My action hero status would fail miserably at this point. Force me to choose between cutting the red wire or the blue wire. Ask me to fight the bad guy on top of a train. Just don’t get me to open the fricken jam.

I am now swearing at the jam. The jam has become the object of my wrath. I am giving the jam obscene gestures. I want to cause this jam pain.

The jam sits smugly on the bench. I consider hurling it through the window.

I can see how this is going to play out. My wife will wander into the kitchen and she will pop open the lid with ease. I will probably say, “There you go, babe, I loosened it up for you,” but she will know what really happened and will feel superior for the rest of the day.

I bet a woman sealed this lid. Women are the architects of all evil. That is what a jam jar will do to a man, it turns him against the people he loves before they’ve even entered the room.

Suddenly, with a cute, annoying pop, the lid opens. Just like that.

The trivial nature of the situation mocks me further. Did I really teeter on the edge of insanity over a little glass jar? How close did I just come to committing an irrevocable act? I feel crushed and foolish, like I’ve failed in some way. I nearly blew my lid over a jar of jam.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep things in perspective. Life is relentless and it’s been another long week. But hey, it’s finally Friday. May all your sealed foodstuffs open easily this weekend.

First published in the Bay of Plenty Times 19 July. Reproduced with permission.