I learn new things every day.  For example, I could never open jars of pickles.  I simply assumed that, for whatever reason, my hands were as weak as a little girl’s, and so pickle jars would always be an ordeal.  I could dance around a kitchen for half an hour pounding on the lid of a jar, cursing at it, muttering at it in Latin, running it under the tap, and so on.

Then someone watching me go through the Ordeal of the Pickle said “try turning the jar and not the lid.”  “If I could turn either of them,” I grumbled, “I’d have a pickle already.”  “Just try it.”

I scoffed.  After all, turning the jar and turning the lid are the same exact motion from the perspective of physics.  Einstein proved it — the movement of the jar is relative to your location of observation.  If you’re the lid, the jar turns; if you’re the jar, the lid turns.  And I didn’t see how shifting my perspective to the lid would help me open the jar.

*pop*  It opened.

I can open jars now.  Pickles, hot peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, kim chee . . . name it.  I’m sure there’s a physics-related reason for why turning the jar and not the lid works.  I’m not claiming that there’s magic in this.

Except that there is.  Every problem has two (or more) sides in conflict, and we have a tendency to focus on only one side of the problem.  Sometimes just moving our awareness to the other side of the problem can offer enough traction to solve it.


4 Responses to “Pickles”

  1. Interesting…. any tips for jelly jars? They seem to form a seal of dried goo… steam bath, perhaps? 😛

  2. I recommend developing a taste for peanut butter, instead. Easier to open.

  3. wow i cant believe it work i was sitting at my chair for like an hour trying to get the pickle jar lid off i finally checked online and vualla it came right off

  4. Is it possible that the jar affords a better grip than the lid? It certainly offers a wider point of contact with the hand.

    I suppose one would need a certain amount of grip on both or the lid would move relative to the hand holding it anyway, but I think the answer might lie down that path. (The amount of force used to try to open something, rather than just stabilizing it, might exceed the limits of static friction and make it easier for a hand to slip, whereas if the majority of force is applied to the jar, it’s less likely for the lid to slip? I’m nothing like a physicist; I could be entirely wrong.)

    …I’ll stop necromancing your blog posts any time now.

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