I had some french fries.

They were warm and I assumed they were yummy.

I needed some ketchup, the King of Condiments, to make them yummier (A side note: Catsup is the Sickly Prince of Condiments).

The ketchup was housed in one of those large squeeze bottles. I like those. Anything that hurries the process of ketchup consumption is a friend of mine.

I grabbed the ketchup bottle, juxtaposing it at a 75-degree angle northwest of my french fries. I squeezed. Nothing came out. I squeezed harder. Again, nothing. I squeezed a third time, this time grunting from my meager feat of strength. Nothing.

Oh, silly me, I forgot to open that little white flip-top cap.

I tried again. No ketchup. Curses! I peered into the eye of the cap. There was something blocking the ketchup. I unscrewed the lid. Underneath the lid was a white seal over the top of the ketchup bottle. I thought about giving up. A little voice in my head said: “Len, remember what Jimmy Valvano said: ‘Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.’”

I was thusly motivated. I was pumped. I was concerned about a voice being in my head where the monkey on the wheel was supposed to be. But more than that, I was hungry — or rather, I wasn’t full, which is what hunger is to me.

Plan A was then formed. I would peel the seal (hee, hee, that rhymed) off the top of the ketchup bottle. Plan A failed. I have no fingernails to speak of, making me defenseless in girl fights and/or battles to open ketchup bottles. I tried and tried with my nubby nails, but couldn’t get a grip on the steely gateway to yumminess.

I spent the next five minutes formulating Plan B. Plan B, when finalized, included bashing the seal with my shoe. It failed.

Plan C followed. It involved a crowbar to no success. During the process of carrying out Plan D, I discovered that a person can suffer painful second-degree burns by holding a strong lighter upside down. Plan F taught me that an egg beater is good for absolutely nothing but beating eggs.

Around Plan J, I began to wonder why this indestructible little white cap was on my ketchup bottle in the first place. My mind wandered back to the 1980s, when some wacko was injecting cyanide into Tylenol products. After that, safety caps started appearing on everything. But since that point, 30-something years later, we haven’t had any widespread product tampering scares, much less assaults on ketchup bottles.

So why are we still doing it? Is it a national security issue? Is this where the terrorists will strike next? By contaminating the national ketchup supply? Oh, heavens no. We definitely need to build a wall to prevent that.

Plan N was messy, but it worked. The corkscrew penetrated the seal, allowing ketchup to slowly flow through the tattered seal and the nearly-destroyed cap. My french fries were no longer hot and crisp, but rather cold and soggy. The King of Condiments, though, did pep them up a little.

I won’t let the terrorists win — even if it means resorting to Plan N.

Email Len Robbins at lrobbins@theclinchcountynews.com.

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