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Pins And Needles: It's A Wrap

Waxed paper and Ziploc bags. Everyday items, unworthy of more than a passing thought. That is until Gloria MacKay comes along to wrap them up in an entertaining package of words.

Gloria's words are broadcast by http://www.kser.org/

Iíve pulled miles of waxed paper off the roll, considering all the lunches Iíve packed through the years. It was the only wrap in the drawer when I started spreading mustard on white bread and bologna.

To pull off just enough to get all the way around the bread took more coordination than I had early in the morning, but the rejects werenít wasted. First snow of the year? Rub the runners of the sled with waxed paper. Schoolís out? Slick up the slide with waxed paper. Autumn leaves by the handful? Press them between... what else but waxed paper.

Soon, we had options ó waxed paper in rolls and waxed paper in bags (which we never referred to as baggies). Handy for cookies and chips, but pre-made cost more per sandwich than wrap-it-yourself, so I kept on pulling waxed paper.

Along came a wrap that snapped off the roll with a flourish, and virtually glowed in the dark. What was it for? Thanks to instructions from The Reynolds Metal Company, in no time we could tent turkeys, bundle leftovers, freeze meals and reheat in leisure. Under the stove top, our refurbished drip pans gleamed up at us, and I recall dipping foil in Coca Cola and polishing the bumper of our car. This was more than a wrap. How had we survived without it?

Soon, we were up to our elbows in plastic, a wrap sexier than waxed paper and more forgiving than foil. It stretches. It clings. It sticks. It seals. We now had more wraps than room in the drawer. Out goes waxed paper, the only kind of wrap that can breathe, and in comes Ziploc, the mortal enemy of air. Also, the only wrap that has a generation named after it.

The Popoff brothers sing:

If I could get another chance
I'd put it in a ziploc bag
And keep it in my pocket.

Poet Catherine Mueller muses:

I opened the freezer to yells and tears
in ziploc bags, sealed without
the handy self sticking name and date label.

A seventeen year writer laments:

My Mom is a Scuba Diving Monster. I Hate Fish! It's OK when they're in an aquarium with their vibrant colors still intact, but there's no poetry to describe a frozen slab of ling cod in a Ziploc freezer bag! It has even gotten to the point where we had to buy another freezer to store all the fish even though we eat fish every night.

How is a woman who learned to breathe with waxed paper supposed to function in a society sealed shut? I was taught that even cheese should breathe; when I pop a slice of extra sharp cheddar into a Ziploc bag and run my thumb and index finger along the top I have trouble getting it sealed all the way across on the first try. It doesnít seem right. The same with my tears and my chances, I like to give them some air.

The wraps keep coming, but theyíre too much for me. These days, not only are they supposed to hold the filling together, weíre expected to eat the whole thing. Wrap and all. Is the bun a wrap even before you put the hot dog in? Does mustard need air to stay yellow? Does a tortilla have to breathe? Will Ziploc go out of style before its generation is dead? How are we supposed to wrap our wraps without appearing redundant?

Thirty years ago, Marshal McLuhan, in his book, The Medium is the Message, makes a revolutionary pronouncement: in television viewing, it is not the programing that is significant, itís the television set itself. The book was a best seller, but I didnít get it. Now I do. The medium is the message in the same way the wrap is the snack. Or the snack is the wrap. Or something like that.

This is very confusing to someone whose roots go back to waxed paper. But thereís one thing I know: to that boy from Ventura, your mother is right. The only way to wrap ling cod is in a totally Ziplocked bag.


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Gloria MacKay
glomac@comcast.net


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