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July 2009 Dr. Vern - Clearing the Jeep Part Clutter

Posted in Features on July 1, 2009
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Contributors: Dr. Vern

As a general rule of thumb, never admit to anything embarrassing. This creed has served me well over the years. For example, I'd never admit that I belong to The Dukes of Hazzard Reenactor's Society. Furthermore, there's no way I'd ever admit I've been chosen as understudy for the coveted role of Boss Hogg. Nope, I'm keeping that info close to my chest. If you're looking for another example from the "Never Admit Anything" files, you can be doubly sure I'll never 'fess up to the Tupperware Incident.

Tupperware is unusual because it somehow reproduces all by itself, with nary a Chris Isaak CD in earshot. I can't ever remember purchasing any Tupperware, but I sure seem to have plenty in my cupboards. In my defense, I think I can be excused for not realizing the purpose of a Tupperware party, or more specifically, what I was supposed to wear. At a costume party, you wear a costume. At a toga party, you wear a toga. You can probably see where this train of thought is heading, which would explain my frame of mind when getting dressed for the Tupperware party.

So yeah, I'm a little skittish every time I open my cupboards and see that ever-growing pile of Tupperware. And in true Vern-O-Rific fashion, this is all somehow related to my fleet of Jeeps, past, present, and future. You see, there's a problem with that avalanche of plastic waiting to explode from my cupboards, because I can never find a matching lid for any container. I am of the firm conviction that no two Tupperware containers are designed to use the same lid. When this issue hits the newsstands, I'll have to let my lawyer open my mail because I'll be bombarded with details of the lid hierarchy, and how I should get the new lid organizer, and so on.

Meanwhile, out in the garage, my Pile-O-Jeep-Parts is just as bad as the sea of plastic in the kitchen. It wouldn't be so bad if all I had were Jeep parts, because they match up pretty well over the years. The real problem is that next to that mound is my Pile-O-Car-Parts, which is next to my Pile-O-Pickup-Parts. Every time I ruin a set of brakes by trying to make them last a few too many miles, what happens next? Assuming I only trashed one brake drum, that leaves me with another partially-worn spare that still might be good for something one day. Ah, but alas, when I wreck a brake drum on a different vehicle, is there is even a chance that spare would work? Hold them up to compare, but even if practically the same size, there are enough differences that I now have two doorstops, not just one. It's just not fair.

That's why I propose a system of uniform product sizes and specifications that all manufacturers must use for frequently used items, whether it's automobile parts or plastic food containers. Small, medium, and large. That's it. Nothing in between. Consider brake parts, for example. There's no reason one company should make a brake disc a certain size while the competition makes theirs a quarter-inch larger but an eighth-inch thinner. If all the manufacturers of the world could just make nice with each other, imagine the savings and potential for cross-utilization. Compact cars, for example, could all use small brake rotors. Stock Jeeps and most passenger cars could use medium-sized rotors. Large brake rotors would be reserved for big trucks and Jeeps that have been supersized with High-School Drug Dealer conversions. Why, with such interchangeability, I could merge all those separate piles in the garage and regain some floor space. Imagine how much easier life would be at the auto parts store. There'd be no more of those annoying make/model/year/shoe size questions. The store would have bins for small, medium, and large parts, and that's all anybody would need to know.

Back in the kitchen, imagine how much easier it would be to clean up after dinner. As a newlywed, I can no longer avoid rummaging through the Tupperware cupboard by letting the dog up on the table to polish off any leftovers. My life would be so much simpler if all plastic containers were one of three uniform sizes. If a lid looks roughly the correct size, it will fit. What a concept! If I had a single kumquat to put away in the fridge, I'd select a small container and quickly find the matching small lid. If I had to store something bigger, I'd grab a medium container and any medium lid would work. Perhaps you've already noticed a theme here, but wait for it: If I needed a large container, any large lid would snap right in place. Oh happy day!

I would like to request that the nice lawyers (that's a word combination you rarely hear) at Tupperware don't go after me. They can go after my editor because I'd like his office, but there's no point getting me because I've always said it's a great product, and I'm not just saying that to stay out of jail. Overlooking the problem with mismatched lids, Tupperware is one of those products that everybody knows because it does its job so well. Jeep, of course, is another brand name so well known because the product lives up to its billing. There are some products, however, I'll never purchase again because they've absolutely let me down. Without naming names, there's a pill on the market that promises, among other things, to bring relief from the irritability of PMS. From my many years of experience, the "P" stood for Perpetual instead of Pre-, but even when I guzzled the pills by the handful, they never brought me an iota of relief. Thanks to my new wife, I no longer need the pills, but it still seems like a waste to throw them out. In case somebody wants the pills, I could save them for you in a big Tupperware, if I could only find a matching lid.Dr. Vern

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