I got a new jar of multi-vitamins and began the task of opening it this morning. I finally got through obstacle Number 1 – removing the clear plastic wrapper that is molded around the lid and most of the jar. I put my best magnifying glasses on, grabbed a pointy steak knife and, delicately as a surgeon, nosed it at the edge of the plastic repeatedly until I got the tip under it, enough to lift a little edge that I could tear away with my teeth. 

After I wrestled off all that plastic, I pressed down on the child-proof cap with all my might and opened the jar. I found obstacle Number 2 inside. The round white inner seal – held in place with industrial glue so strong you could chain it to a pickup truck, gun the engine and no matter how many horsepower or Hemi’s under the hood, it won’t pull the inner seal off.

Typical vitamin jar inner seal - nearly impossible to remove

The manufacturers like to trick you into believing the seal will come off, so they put a itsy bitsy little tab on the edge of the seal, or, as in this case, they have kindly glued a thin clear strip of plastic that sticks up like a shark’s fin for you to grab onto. I always get suckered into trying. “Maybe this time,” I say to myself with faith and hope, “maybe this time I can tug the inner seal off with my bare hands and brute strength.” Getting a grip on the thin plastic fin is not possible with human fingers – it’s barely enough to pinch. Gripping takes more finger real estate, almost all the way to the first knuckle. The jar designers know this, so they make the fin almost – but not quite – tall enough.

No problem, I’ll just use my teeth. This set of pearly whites used to crack walnuts. When we were kids, my friends gave me assorted nuts in shells – walnuts, pecans, almonds – so they could stare in awe as I cracked them like a vise with these teeth.

I eyed the fin, confident in the strength and gripping power of my jaws. I pulled back my lips and put the plastic fin between my front teeth and clamped down and yanked. It didn’t budge. I turned my head sideways and went after it with my mighty back teeth, which have so much torque they could crush an avocado seed. The plastic fin laughed at my effort. No amount of pulling lifted the edge even a minuscule.

I knew what I had to do – what I always have to do. I opened a drawer and got a big knife. By then I was seething. “I’ll show the son of a bi…” I thought. I thrust the knife at the white inner seal. It richoched off and sliced my finger. Drips of blood splattered the floor. I set the vitamin jar on the counter, took the knife between my bloody hands, pointed straight down, and plunged it with all my might like I was stabbing the heart of a vampire with a silver stake. The knife pierced through. I wiggled the knife around until it dislodged most of the seal except for the part stuck with the glue – it stayed in place, a white, immovable rim forever bonded to the jar.

Inside the bottle was enough cotton to stuff a sofa cushion. Pulling that out released the vitamin smell. It’s awful. Just awful. Makes you wonder why they make these jars so hard to get into. To keep children from mistaking it for candy? Any child that pulls the cotton out is going to yack all over the kitchen as soon as they get a whiff of the smell.

The odor reminded me how awful vitamins taste. I’m burping up that taste for at least an hour, no matter how much water I drink. That’s why they want you to take them with food because they figure if you have some garlicky pasta or hot-sauce-coated enchilada you’ll mask the taste. It doesn’t work. Don’t ever take a vitamin before bed. It just lies there in your esophagus emitting death rays of foul taste that you can NOT swallow away.

I kept “forgetting” to take mine – kind of like you “forget” to call an annoying person, so I got this pill case now that says Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday. I only take four vitamins – my multi, calcium, iron and D3. I open one bottle at a time, shake out a few and divvy them up between the days. Or try to. Some bounce out of one day into another like they’re on mini-pogo sticks. I have to dig the jumper from the wrong day with my finger, another nearly impossible thing to accomplish given that I have human, not squirrel, hands. D3 – the sunshine vitamin – is the worst. An Olympic gold medal jumper. It’s small, in a slippery clear gel coating that’s hard to grab. The thing nuzzles into the corner and refuses to budge. Sometimes I have to use two fingers to pry it out, and then half the time, for spite, it jumps on the floor.  

My vitamin box

One nice thing about the vitamin box is now I know what day of the week it is. If the little compartment is empty, then I know today is not that day, and since the next little compartment has vitamins in it, today must be Sunday. 

I think I’ll have breakfast now and get the chore of swallowing these elephant pills over with. As Warren Buffet says, “Do the important things first.” 

Or, as Josh Billings, says, “Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.” 

Take care, everyone and happy Sunday!